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Rail Around Birmingham
& the West Midlands

Rail Around Birmingham & the West Midlands

 

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T69 Tramcar 09 Bilston Road, Wolverhampton
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Midland Metro


Midland Metro Map
Click on the map to navigate to Metro Stop pages

Now, those of you with a keen eye will have noticed that the Regional Map shows all the ex-GWR stations to the North of Snow Hill in blue text, indicating that they are disused/demolished: this isn't exactly true. My concentration on this site is with traditional mainline railways and branch lines that are/were part of the public transport network. For example, I haven't covered the plethora of industrial railways which once operated in the region. However the Midland Metro, though not strictly fitting within the scope of this site, is interesting as it is not a purely road-based tramway - it utilises the ex-GWR trackbed out of Snow Hill and some of the sites of stations on that route which have been disused since the closure of the line in 1972.

The service began on the 30th May 1999, although proposed in 1988 for a 1992 envisaged opening, with the total cost for the work being 145 million. The line is operated by T69 tramcars built by Ansaldo Transporti of Italy (who also provided signalling and control equipment) powered by pantograph pick-up from overhead cabling. ALTRAM, a consortium combining John Laing Construction and Asnaldo Tansporti, have a 23 year lease on the system and were responsible for its design and construction (the latter being physically undertaken by John Laing plc). The operating of the system lies with Travel Midland Metro, a division of Travel West Midlands who are the local bus operators.

The 12.7 mile route, more correctly known as Line 1, was originally planned to be augmented by a Line 2 from Five Ways to Birmingham International Airport and a Line 3 from Wolverhampton to Dudley via Walsall. However, various problems led to the second and third phases not happening, and indeed to Taylor-Woodrow, who originally signed-up to the project, dropping out of the partnership with Asnaldo altogether to be replaced by John Laing Construction. There appears to be an air of uncertainty surrounding whether or not the other two lines will be completed: the line from Wolverhampton to Dudley still gets regularly mooted but as to if and when it will see the light of day, the jury is currently out.

Although some old station sites are used - Soho, Handsworth, West Bromwich and Wednesbury Central - the sites were completely gutted before building began to turn them into Metro stops. The line is, however, worth checking out as it does pass the sites of several long-gone stations on what was once a prestige GWR main line. The map at the top of this page, as with the Regional Map in the railways section of the site, provides links to a page for each stop on the Metro route between Birmingham Snow Hill and Wolverhampton St Georges. However, with the stops only opening in 1999 there is hardly a plethora of information upon which to draw to put onto each page. Therefore, each page will largely be a collection of photographs with some supporting text as to the site as it is presently, except in the case of overlap with the sites of old stations in which case I will provide more detail. As with the main Regional Map, I have yet to get around all the Metro stops so until I do, the map above will depict which ones have been completed.



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