Countdown begins to major Birmingham extension opening

WEST Midlands Metro tram No. 20 became the first to work through to Centenary Square in Birmingham on October 23, as testing continued along the new Westside extension from Grand Central (New Street).

This city centre extension is the first stage of a much larger expansion of the network around Birmingham, with the Westside line due to reach Edgbaston via Five Ways in 2021, followed by Curzon Street (then on to Birmingham Airport) and Dudley by 2023.

‘Alternative’

Overnight trials continued into November, with the route to Centenary Square expected to open to passengers before Christmas. 

The new section will serve the International Convention Centre, the headquarters of HSBC Bank and the Library of Birmingham.

An aerial view of the tram stop at Birmingham Centenary Square in the final stages of construction. Midland Metro Alliance

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said the aim was to make the tram “a genuinely viable alternative to the car in Birmingham city centre.”

Construction of the catenary-free route began in June 2017, a year after the extension from Snow Hill to Grand Central had opened.

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