West Midlands Metro cancels all tram services due to 'operational issues'

Tram services in the Black Country were cancelled on Saturday due to "operational issues".

Tram
Tram

The move by operator West Midlands Metro followed morning of reduced services for travellers who reported being requested to get off part way through their trip between Wolverhampton and Birmingham on Saturday.

The situation has been labelled as "scandalous" by a councillor after the third service suspension in less than a year, which was later extended to the end of operations on Sunday.

In a tweet the operator apologised for the problems: "Due to an operational issue, there will be no service in operation until end of service today.

"We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause."

Earlier only a reduced number of trams were running between Wolverhampton St George's and Bull Street prompting complaints from travellers.

West Midlands Metro also told passengers tickets were being accepted on National Express West Midlands bus routes 74 and 79, as well as West Midlands Railway and Avanti West Coast Trains between Wolverhampton and Birmingham as an alternative.

Wolverhampton councillor Chris Burden, of the West Midlands Combined Authority's transport delivery committee, said: "I have been informed of what is going on with the trams, and all I can say at this stage is that it's a scandal. However, I am bound by confidentiality.

"I will say at this point that it's not serving the people.

"Ultimately it is unacceptable and it's not good for customers and not good for the West Midlands.

"We have got the Commonwealth Games coming up. This needs to be sorted out."

Frustrated travellers were left stranded at stops along the line due to the very limited service, with West Midlands Metro warning of 25-30-minute waits due to "an issue affecting trams".

One, @JoshWBA16, said on Twitter they were asked to get off their tram.

"Stranded at Dartmouth Street as we’ve all been told to get off for safety reasons, next one says ten minutes. Be honest will it actually come?" they asked.

The disruption follows the recent return to full services after cracks were found in the vehicles twice last year.

In June cracks were found in the under-frame structure resulting in the whole fleet being withdrawn for a few days, while in November the tram service was suspended for a month after more faults were found, requiring more extensive repairs.

Operator West Midlands Metro has been approached for comment.

It is thought that the combined authority will to discuss the latest issue next week.

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