Midland Metro tram fleet sold for scrap – but two are set for new journey
The original Midland Metro tram fleet has been sold for scrap – but two survivors are set for a new journey.
Thirteen Ansaldo T69 trams have been sold for £12,000 via an e-auction by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
However two from the fleet of 15 put up for auction have been found new homes.
One, Tram 7, has been donated to UK Tram, the British tram industry body.
The other, Tram 11, has been donated to Birmingham Museum.
Tram 11 was repainted in the old Birmingham Corporation colours in 2013 to mark the 60th anniversary of the final tram running in the city.
It is named after Cllr Theresa Stewart, the former leader of Birmingham City Council.
Cllr Stewart was Birmingham‘s first female leader, running the city council between 1993 and 1999 and was Lord Mayor from 2000-2001.
She was a member of the West Midlands Passenger Transport Authority and played a leading role in persuading the government of the early 1990s to give the go-ahead for the Midland Metro line.
Cllr Stewart said: “I remember very well the meetings in parliament and the campaign to get permission to open the Metro so I am glad that one of the original trams is to be kept for posterity, they are an important part of the story of public transport in this region.“When you look at the success of the Midland Metro today it just shows how the campaign to bring back trams was right.
“It is also rather nice to think that I am going into a museum!”
A date for Tram 11 to be moved is yet to be arranged.
The T69 trams were introduced when the Midland Metro line opened between Birmingham Snow Hill station and Wolverhampton city centre in 1998.
However they were phased out following the introduction in 2014 of the Urbos 3 trams now in use on the network, and have been in storage at a depot in Long Marston, Warwickshire, ever since.
Cllr Roger Lawrence, WMCA lead member for transport, said: “After many years of service it’s sad the T69 trams are headed for the breakers yard, but in the absence of any buyers for them as a going concern this represents the best return for the council tax payer.
“However the two trams that are to be preserved will serve as a permanent reminder of the part they played in the story of the Midland Metro.”