Final piece of track welded into place for Birmingham Westside Metro extension

A major milestone has been reached on the Birmingham Westside Metro extension as the last piece of track was welded into place on Hagley Road.

Clockwise from front left, Peter Cushing, director of the Midland Metro Alliance; Marta Gasch, lead track engineer; Martin Ponter, delivery manager; Stephen Christopher, deputy construction director and Iain Anderson, managing director of Colas Rail Urban & Industries
Clockwise from front left, Peter Cushing, director of the Midland Metro Alliance; Marta Gasch, lead track engineer; Martin Ponter, delivery manager; Stephen Christopher, deputy construction director and Iain Anderson, managing director of Colas Rail Urban & Industries

The end of track laying on the project means passenger services to a new terminus at 54 Hagley Road continue to be on target to start later this year.

The team at Midland Metro Alliance, which is constructing the route on behalf of Transport for West Midlands, has been commended for continuing to make great strides on the scheme, even through the Covid-19 pandemic, in order to reach the final stages of construction.

Michael Anderson, projects director for West Midlands Metro, said: “It is incredibly exciting that the team have continued to press ahead whilst at the same time implementing new and unforeseen safety measures to reach this milestone.

"What the team at the Midland Metro Alliance have achieved in the last 12 months despite all the challenges they’ve faced is brilliant, and I know businesses on Broad Street will be thankful that we’ve been able to move forward with the works during lockdown to minimise the impact as they begin to reopen.

"This is a significant stage in the project as it means that we are ever closer to unlocking the many benefits the extension will bring to every part of our region, whilst other extensions to the East of Birmingham and from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill in the Black Country continue at pace as part of a wider transport plan for the West Midlands.”

Fantastic

Ian MacLeod, interim director for inclusive growth at Birmingham City Council, added: “When complete, this new route will provide a sustainable option for travel across the city and will therefore play a key part in the Clean Air Zone when measures are implemented later in the spring. It is fantastic to see the project moving closer to completion and I am grateful to the team for continuing to work safely during the pandemic to keep the project on schedule.”

As main construction on the project begins to wrap up the final works, including street scene improvements and the installation of overhead line equipment, will commence along with essential testing and commissioning before passenger services begin later in the year.

Peter Cushing, director at the Midland Metro Alliance, said: “Our teams have continued to work incredibly hard and have shown great commitment to complete this stage of the project. It is fantastic to see main construction coming to an end and the area has really transformed in recent weeks with the installation of new paving along Broad Street and Hagley Road. All at the alliance share great pride in delivering such a transformative tram extension for the city and we are delighted to see the area beginning to take shape.”

Much of the work on this second phase of the Birmingham Westside extension was completed during the three national lockdowns with social distancing, regular Covid-19 testing and enhanced cleaning regimes in place to keep staff members and the general public safe.

Later this year three new tram stops will connect passengers to Brindleyplace, Five Ways and Hagley Road. It will follow from the current Library terminus, which opened for passenger service ahead of schedule in December 2019.

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