The first of the city’s new tram stops are being installed in Birmingham city centre as work to extend the West Midlands Metro to Centenary Square enters its final stages.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, joined Cllr Waseem Zaffar, Birmingham City Council cabinet member for transport and environment, Phil Hewitt, director of West Midlands Metro and Maria Ion, project lead at the Midland Metro Alliance, to mark the milestone in construction of the Birmingham Westside Metro extension.
Speaking at the site of one of the new Metro stops in Victoria Square, the Mayor, a former CEO of John Lewis, said: “The expansion of the Metro to Centenary Square will make it easier for those living, working and travelling in Birmingham to get around the city and beyond.
From left: Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, Maria Ion, project lead at the Midland Metro Alliance, Cllr Waseem Zaffar, Birmingham City Council cabinet member for transport and environment and Phil Hewitt, director of West Midlands Metro
"With tram stop furniture being installed, it is very clear that we are entering the final stages of construction for this first phase of the route, and it is exciting to imagine that local people will be using these tram stops later this year.
"But of course, this is only the start of our Metro expansion, with work ongoing to get trams out to Five Ways as part of this same route, and plans in place to extend the line from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill.
"These expansions combined with major investment in state-of-the-art clean buses and an improved train timetable is clear evidence of how our region is undergoing a major transport overhaul.”
The Birmingham Westside Metro route follows on from the extension between St Chads and Grand Central, which opened to passengers in May 2016. Once completed, the Metro will operate between Grand Central and Hagley Road in Edgbaston, improving transport links into the heart of the city, making journeys faster and more accessible and, in turn, helping businesses and supporting more jobs.
Construction for the new route commenced in June 2017 and along with four other tram extensions in the West Midlands, is being planned, designed and delivered by the Midland Metro Alliance (MMA) on behalf of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
The WMCA and TfWM have embarked upon an ambitious scheme to treble the size of the tram network, supporting wider plans to regenerate the region and provide new opportunities for residents and businesses.
Five new tram stops will connect passengers to Victoria Square, Centenary Square, Brindleyplace, Five Ways and Hagley Road, with links to popular attractions including the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, the International Convention Centre and Symphony Hall.
The extension will allow more people to use the Metro in this area for day-to-day travel, reducing road congestion in the city centre, as well as improving sustainable transport options along Broad Street and beyond.
Phil Hewitt, director of West Midlands Metro, said: “Soon, people will be able to travel across the city by tram to and enjoy the entertainment and hospitality offerings in Brindleyplace and Broad Street.