Midland Metro extension latest: Victoria Square work begins

Works to extend the tram network to the west of Birmingham have moved a step closer.

The hoarding in Victoria Square was erected earlier this month, allowing the public to continue to get around the city safely during the tram construction works.

The development of the Birmingham Westside Extension is being carried out by the Midland Metro Alliance and when complete, will further improve transport links in the city centre.

It follows final funding for the scheme being given the go-ahead from the Department for Transport (DfT), allowing these major project works to get under way. Additional funding for this extension to Midland Metro has come from the West Midland Combined Authority (WMCA) transport arm, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and the Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone and third-party developers.

Strengthening works are currently being carried out to the basements of businesses in Pinfold Street, which are all open as usual during construction.

When fully complete, the new line, which will operate between Grand Central in the city centre to Hagley Road in Edgbaston, will have five tram stops and operate ten trams an hour during peak times.

An artist’s impression of the Midland Metro passing Town Hall

The first phase of the passenger service will take the route from New Street Station to Centenary Square, with services expected to commence in 2019/20. The second phase of the Birmingham Westside Extension will continue to Edgbaston, and is planned to open in 2021/22 in time for when Birmingham hosts the Commonwealth Games.

Part of the route – from Grand Central to Centenary Square – will be built without overhead lines, making it the first battery-powered tram in the UK. This involves fitting hi-tech batteries to the trams so they can run on their own power without the need to fix electric wires to buildings – limiting the impact on Birmingham’s historic city centre and iconic buildings.

The tram will provide a direct link to popular attractions, including the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the International Convention Centre and Symphony Hall and will improve accessibility to and from the west of Birmingham. The public realm will also be improved as part of the works in the area, including planting trees along the route. This route, together with four other tram extensions in the West Midlands, is being planned, designed and delivered by the Midland Metro Alliance on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority.

The Midland Metro Alliance is a team of planning, design and construction specialists, consisting of the West Midlands Combined Authority, a consortium of design experts from Egis, Tony Gee and Pell Frischmann and contractor Colas Rail, (supported by their sub-alliance partners Colas Limited, Barhale, Bouygues UK and Auctus Management Group).

Visit www.metroalliance.co.uk to find out more about Midland Metro Alliance.

You are also able to email communications@metroalliance.co.uk with any additional questions.