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Light Rail news roundup 23rd February 2024 Friday February 23, 2024

In this week’s news from the light rail sector – Successful fare evasion crackdowns in Manchester and Nottingham, Patronage figures reflect growing popularity of trams in Edinburgh, and an open day for seasonal conductors in Blackpool.


The merits of employing infrastructure mapping alongside condition monitoring to improve asset management and performance on UK tramways have been examined by light rail engineers.

The subject was addressed during a best practice workshop for members of the UKTram Engineering Group (LREG), which also included a presentation by Gaist and Polychord and a demonstration of rail products by Sika UK, who hosted the workshop in Leeds.

Phil Terry, UKTram Lead Engineer, explained that asset management, supported by cost effective and usable condition surveys, is high on the agenda for operators at the moment, and the workshop provided the opportunity to discuss the topic in detail, as reported here.

In other light rail news:

Manchester Metrolink

Fare evasion on Greater Manchester’s tram network has fallen by a third as part of an ongoing crackdown by Metrolink with support from the TravelSafe Partnership.

With more KeolisAmey Metrolink (KAM) staff carrying out ticket inspections, fare evasion has fallen from over 16% in July 2023 to 10.6% in January 2024.

A new plan to tackle fare evasion on Metrolink was introduced in October last year, and the full story can be found here.

Edinburgh Trams 

The opening of a new line has delivered a massive boost to the popularity of Edinburgh’s award-winning tram network, with customer numbers more than doubling since the first tram bound for Newhaven departed the city centre.

More than seven million tram trips were recorded by the operator in the second half of 2023, compared to 3.4 million during the same period the previous year.

The extraordinary figures released this week reflect the dedication of the entire Edinburgh Trams team to ensuring residents, visitors and local businesses enjoy maximum benefit from the £207 million investment in the line. For the full story, click here.


Following the launch of Nottingham Express Transit’s (NET) zero tolerance campaign to crack down on fare evasion last December, there has been a 45% month-on-month rise in Penalty Fare Notices issued.

Local media reports that during the first month of the campaign, which has seen an increased presence of plain-clothed officers at tram stops and on trams across the network, more than 1,120 Penalty Fare Notices were issued.

Throughout 2023, NET issued 7,682 Penalty Fare Notices and prosecuted 2,580 customers that refused to pay their Penalty Fare Notice. For the full story, click here. 

Blackpool Transport 

On Friday, March 1, a selection day for Seasonal Tram Conductors will be held at Blackpool’s Starr Gate Depot between 9am and 5pm.

To keep waiting times down, Blackpool Transport is asking applicants to book a time slot in advance, and existing employees will be on hand to answer any questions about the role, including working patterns and hours.

Successful candidates could start work as early as March 11, and further details can be found here.

Tyne & Wear Metro

Every minute of the day, a family is now taking advantage of the Take The Kids for Free price promise on Metro and the Shields Ferry.

Since being launched in summer 2021, almost a million journeys have been made by parents, grandparents and children under the age of 12, up to three of whom can travel with a fare-paying adult.

The statistics have been released to encourage more families to discover the value of Metro travel as half-term approaches, and you can read more here.


The historic Volk’s Electric Railway, which has been running along Brighton seafront since 1883, has been recognised at the Heritage Railway Association Awards.

British Trams Online reports the railway was named ‘Railway of the Year’ at a glitzy ceremony that appropriately took place in Brighton on February 10.

In announcing the Volk’s Electric Railway as the winner, the judges stated they were impressed by the authenticity, attention to detail and dedication to the unique history of the railway, which is the world’s oldest working electric railway.


The Minister of State for Rail and HS2, Huw Merriman, visited the Black Country Innovative Manufacturing Organisation (BCIMO) recently to get a taste of what the future of light rail transport looks like.

Huw Merriman was joined by Dudley North MP Marco Longhi, Dudley Council Leader Patrick Harley, Coventry City Council’s Director of Transport and Highways Colin Knight and BCIMO’s Chief Executive Officer Neil Fulton, for a tour of the Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre (VLRNIC).

He also took a ride on the pioneering Coventry Very Light Rail (CVLR) vehicle, which is being tested at the centre’s Rail Development and Test Site. To read more, click here.

To be included in the next round-up, or the Members News section of the UKTram website, send your press releases to