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New Street tram extension goes live

Midlands Metro

Tram services have started running to Birmingham New Street station this week following a three-month delay to the city’s Midland Metro extension project.

The new line from Bull Street to the station and Grand Central shopping centre was previously scheduled for opening in February. It was then expected to open on 22 May, but extensive safety checks identified the need for additional track alignment works before the trams could go live.

Centro – the delivery arm of the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) – completed the project and it marks the first time trams have operated in Birmingham city centre since 1953.

The extension forms part of a £128M scheme that has also seen the purchase of 21 new trams.

Metro lead member for the ITA’s transport delivery committee Richard Worrall said: “It’s wonderful to see the Metro running all the way between Wolverhampton and Birmingham New Street.

“It’s obviously great news for Birmingham – but also for the wider West Midlands. This extension is expected to create more than 1,300 new jobs and boost the regional economy by more than £50M a year.”

“This complex and challenging project has demanded collaborative work across the entire team and is a significant milestone for Birmingham,” said Mike Reade, director at construction firm Balfour Beatty which built the extension.

Further Metro extensions are also due to be delivered in the city. Work is already underway to create a tram route from New Street station to Centenary Square, which is expected to open in 2019. Future routes serving Edgbaston and the forthcoming HS2 station at Curzon Street are planned.

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