Grand Opening For Midland Metro To New Street Station

Tram services today began running to New Street station, as the city centre extension opened for business.

The Midland Metro's city centre extension from Bull Street to the station and Grand Central shopping centre began operating at 8am. 

Centro, the delivery arm of the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority (ITA), is responsible for extension, which sees trams running through the heart of the city centre for the first time since they were withdrawn in 1953. Cllr Richard Worrall, Metro lead member for the ITA’s transport delivery committee said:

"It’s wonderful to see the Metro running all the way between Wolverhampton and Birmingham New Street. 

"This extension is expected to create more than 1,300 sustainable new jobs and boost the regional economy by more than £50 million a year.”

James Aspinall, managing director of Centro, said the extension was 'just the start of a major expansion of the Metro over the next few years', thanks to the regional devolution deal struck with the Government. He said

"We will see £1.2 billion invested in public transport over the next 10 years. This will mean important new Metro links in Wolverhampton as well as Edgbaston and to Brierley Hill.

"Passengers will be able to get straight to the High Speed 2 rail stations in Birmingham and the NEC/Airport by 2026. This is a marvellous boost for the region."

The Midland Metro runs between Birmingham and Wolverhampton, serving locations such as the Jewellery Quarter, West Bromwich, Wednesbury and Bilston. The extension to New Street is part of a £128 million project that has also seen the purchase of a brand new 21-strong fleet of Urbos 3 trams, a refurbished depot at Wednesbury and a new stop at Snow Hill station.

It will deliver more than three million people a year directly into the heart of Birmingham's main shopping district and is expected to boost the West Midlands economy by more than £50 million a year and create 1,300 new jobs. Mike Reade, a director of Balfour Beatty, the construction group tasked with building the extension, said: 

“This complex and challenging project has demanded collaborative work across the entire team and is a significant milestone for Birmingham.

“We look forward to supporting the continued investment in the infrastructure of the West Midlands to improve connectivity and support economic growth.”

Work has already begun extending the route from New Street Station to Centenary Square, with services expected to start running in 2019. Funding has also been earmarked to extend the route further along Broad Street, past Five Ways and on to Edgbaston by 2021.


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