Midland Metro's new tram fleet being made in Spain

Twenty new vehicles are being built in Zaragoza in Spain at a cost of £40m

Related Stories

The first of a new £40m fleet of hi-tech trams is about to be shipped to the Midlands from a factory in Spain.

Twenty new vehicles are being built for the Midland Metro.

They will be used initially on the existing tramline between Birmingham and Wolverhampton. Later they will run on the new extension to Birmingham's New Street Station.

The new trams are being built by Spanish manufacturer CAF at its factory in Zaragoza.

Since winning the order, the company has worked closely with Midland Metro owner Centro, which is in charge of planning the metro expansion.

Similar trams are already running in cities all over the world, including in Zaragoza.

'Very emotional'

In addition to the Birmingham trams, the company is building vehicles for Houston in the USA and Nantes in France.

Jorge Piqueras, CAF's lead engineer said: "It's one of the biggest contracts we have won so far and 20 trams for us is an important number of vehicles to be delivered.

He said that after "two years of hard work" having the vehicles running in Birmingham will be "very emotional".

The first Midland Metro tram is due to arrive in September and, after a period of commissioning, will enter service in April next year.

Midland Metro new tram The fleet of 20 trams will cost £40m - the first should enter service in April 2014
Midland Metro new tram Each of the new trams is 32m (104ft) long and can hold up to 200 passengers
Midland Metro new tram Platforms have been adapted to take the new trams, which have lower floors
Midland Metro new tram being manufactured in Spain The new trams are being made at the CAF factory in Zaragoza

The new vehicles will replace the current 16-strong fleet of trams, originally built in Italy.

The new trams are bigger than the old model, providing greater passenger capacity between Birmingham and the Black Country.

The frequency trams run will increase once all the new vehicles are in service, with one arriving every six minutes.

Three million passengers

Geoff Inskip, chief executive of Centro, said the new trams will have lower floors, making access easier.

"Passengers will also notice that they are much bigger trams and obviously there's a lot more space for people," he said.

Platforms have been modified to accommodate the new trams.

During Easter this year the system was completely shut down while the work was carried out.

Midland Metro new trams

  • Tram manufacturer - CAF.
  • 20 new trams at a cost of £40m.
  • Length of trams - 32m (104ft).
  • Passenger capacity - 200.

The expansion of the Midland Metro is costing £128m and also includes work to extend a tram depot in Wednesbury in the Black Country.

The new line through Birmingham city centre will be just under a mile long and have three stops including one alongside a revamped New Street railway station.

It is expected that the extension will carry more than three million passengers per year.

There are also plans to go further than New Street station.

A scheme to run trams through the revamped Paradise Forum and into Centenary Square close to Birmingham's International Convention Centre is now well advanced.

Centro claims that the extension will boost the West Midlands economy by £50m a year and create 1,300 sustainable new jobs.

The arrival of the Midland Metro, more than a decade ago, has already led to regeneration in some parts of the Black Country.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Birmingham & Black Country

Weather

Birmingham

20 °C 15 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    Northfield Manor House fire 08:03:

    The former home of the Cadbury family in Birmingham has been destroyed in an arson attack, the fire service says.

    Manor House Cadbury home fire July 30 2014 Birmingham

    At its height up to 100 firefighters were tackling the blaze at Northfield Manor House from about 20:00 on Wednesday.

     
  2.  
    Thunder possible 08:02:

    After a bright start, some showery rain, perhaps heavy and thundery, is possible.

    weather

    Becoming brighter from the northwest later, with sunny spells and isolated showers. Feeling pleasantly warm in sunnier intervals.

     
  3.  
    Good morning 08:00: Ed Barlow BBC Local Live

    I'll be bringing you the latest news, sport, weather and travel throughout the day for Birmingham and the Black Country.

    You can get in touch by emailing locallive@bbc.co.uk.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.