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Finishing touches added to Birmingham Westside Metro extension as substation installed

12th October 2021

Ahead of testing and commissioning beginning, Midland Metro Alliance is adding the finishing touches to the second phase of the Birmingham Westside Metro extension to Edgbaston.

Throughout the summer, overhead wires, which will provide power for trams in some areas of the route, including Broad Street, have been installed and a new purpose-built substation building is being constructed within the footprint of Five Ways island.

Next week, a brand-new electrical substation unit will be lowered in place at Five Ways by crane.

In order for this work to be carried out safely, there will be an overnight closure of Five Ways roundabout, from midnight on Sunday 17 October, with Five Ways island fully open before 8am later that morning. Works have been scheduled to take place overnight to minimise disruption to the travelling public with clearly marked diversion routes in place for those making journeys at this time.

Elsewhere, near the terminus on Hagley Road, environmentally friendly grass tracks have been planted ahead of the opening of the route and the final tram stops adjacent to 54 Hagley Road are set to be installed in coming weeks, too, in a clear sign that this high-profile project is entering its final stages.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “It was very exciting to see the final pieces of the jigsaw coming together, showing just how close we are to finishing construction on the extension of the West Midlands Metro line to Edgbaston Village. This route is part of our incredibly ambitious plans to extend the Metro all across the region, helping to create a world-class public transport system that gives people a genuine alternative to the car.”

The Midland Metro Alliance (MMA), which is planning and delivering this and other tramways in the region on behalf of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), is working now to connect the many sophisticated systems, many of which are underground and out of the view of the public, that are required for a modern tramway.

Cristian Bostan, MMA’s Head of Integration, explains: “Over the coming weeks, as well as providing the opportunity for the vital testing of tracks, signals and other infrastructure, the extensive commissioning programme will also see test trams in this area for the first time, which will allow people to begin getting used to seeing Metro travelling at low speeds through different areas of the city centre ahead of services commencing.”

The second phase of the Birmingham Westside Metro project to Edgbaston Village follows the first part of the route from Grand Central to Centenary Square which opened for passenger service in December 2019. Once this last phase of the route is completed, trams will operate between Grand Central and Hagley Road in Edgbaston, improving transport links in the heart of Birmingham, making journeys faster and more accessible, in turn helping businesses and supporting more jobs.