The first of a new £40 million fleet of hi-tech trams built to run on the Midland Metro has been unveiled.
The Urbos 3 tram, which completed a four-day, 1,000 mile journey from its Spanish manufacturing base to get to the Midland Metro depot in Wednesbury, is one of 20 new vehicles built by Zaragoza-based firm CAF which will be delivered to transport authority Centro over the next six months.
After a period of testing the new trams will replace the current 16-strong fleet of vehicles on the route between Wolverhampton and Birmingham Snow Hill Station. They will also be deployed on the mile-long Metro extension through Birmingham city centre which is set to open in 2015.
Centro bosses said the new trams are more spacious and will provide travellers with a more comfortable journey.
Paul Griffiths, Centro’s programme manager for Midland Metro, said: “The new trams are a third bigger than our current trams.
“They can also carry up to 200 passengers compared to 156. They are more roomy and have platform level access, making boarding easier for passengers.
The Metro caters for around five million passengers a year and the new fleet will help to ease some of the congestion that can occur at peak times.”
Geoff Inskip, chief executive of Centro, said the trams were part of a substantial package of investments in the West Midlands transport infrastructure.
“This is a historic day,” he said, adding: “The unveiling of this new tram is part of an investment of £1 billion in transport we plan to deliver before 2015.”