Tram travels along Broad Street for first time as testing of new route gets underway

A tram travelled along Broad Street for the first time last night as testing of the second phase of the Birmingham Westside Metro extension got underway.

Passengers will soon be able to arrive at Birmingham’s famous ‘golden-mile’ by Metro.

Flanked by a team of engineers, the 3G tram made its way from the current Library terminus to the end of the new line at Edgbaston Village, marking the start of testing and commissioning of the newly laid track.

Further trials will now see trams running across the route over the coming weeks in preparation for the much-anticipated launch of passenger services in June.

A tram enters Five Ways underpass for the first time.

Peter Cushing, Director of the Midland Metro Alliance (MMA), which is designing and delivering the extension on behalf of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), said: “It is fantastic that the first tram has now travelled along Broad Street as testing of the new route begins. This marks a significant milestone in the project and shows just how close we are to opening for passenger services. It is exciting to think that we will soon see passengers waiting at the new tram stops that we have recently built. The first tram test has proved a success and I would like to thank the team who have worked incredibly hard to reach this important phase in the project.”

As well as providing the opportunity for the vital testing of tracks, signals and other infrastructure, the extensive testing programme also allows people to get used to trams travelling at low speeds along Broad Street and Hagley Road ahead of services opening to the public.

Cristian Bostan, Head of Integration at MMA, said: “Testing and commissioning is an important phase which involves running out of service trams at low speeds along the newly installed track, allowing engineers to complete a series of tests in a working environment. I am delighted that we have now reached this essential phase in the project.”

Test trams approach the Edgbaston Village terminus at Hagley Road.

John Ellison, Head of Heath, Safety, Environment and Quality at the MMA, added: “Trams travel across city streets all across the world and it’s a really safe method of public transport. With the Birmingham Westside Metro extension now beginning testing, trams will be moving very frequently in places they previously didn’t. We wrote to people in the area this week reminding them of safety tips to stay alert as our programme continues.” 

When the route opens in June, three new tram stops will connect passengers to the area’s famous “golden-mile” as well as hospitality and business venues in Edgbaston. 

Metro testing begins on Broad Street and Hagley Road.