Midland Metro extension Update May 2014
It's been ten months since my last update on the Midland Metro's extension through the city centre, Midland Metro extension Update, and there has been huge progress with rails now being installed and works all along the route as the project nears it's 1 year countdown to opening.
There has been a huge amount of work to get to the stage of laying tram tracks with the re-siting and replacement of mains services, the preparation of road infrastructure to support the route through the city's streets and even significant work to the Stephenson Street entrance of Waterstones book shop to allow for the route's tight bend onto Stephenson Street.
Balfour Beatty have issued their April 2014 Month End Bulletin which is reproduced below courtesy of them, http://balfourbeattymidlandmetro.blogspot.co.uk/, with fascinating aerial pictures showing how it sweeps along Bull Street.
While work will see the Metro extension to New Street Station open in 2015 the route won't stop there with plans to extend the route to Centenary Square by 2017 which would tie in to the adjacent redevelopment of Paradise Circus on the site of the former Birmingham Central Library.
The extension to Centenary Square is being developed under the Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone funding deal with investment in this £31m extension paid for using future business rates, http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/news/regeneration/3m-extend-midland-metro-work-6692374
A map showing the extension is shown below reproduced from Centro.
The planned High Speed 2 station at Eastside has also prompted extension plans for a route into Eastside connecting the new High Speed 'Curzon Street' station and adjacent Moor Street Station and also Millennium Point with two new stops, http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2014/02/27/birmingham-unveils-striking-hs2-station-plan/.
Centro has consulted on two proposed routes for this extension, reproduced below from https://www.centro.org.uk/metro/other-metro-extensions/birmingham-eastside/the-details/, which will undergo further planning and consultation with the aim of submitting an Order, to grant legal powers to build and run the extension, in 2015. If funding can be secured construction would be expected to take 2 years with the extension completed before the opening of HS2.
Travelling along the extended route to New Street in 2015 will be new trams that were unveiled in October last year, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-24540370 The 20 high-tech trains costing £40m in total are bigger than the current trams and can carry about 200 passengers.
It will be interesting to see how the extension of the route and new trams improve people's satisfaction which was second lowest in a recent survey as highlighted in the Manchester Evening News, http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/manchesters-metrolink-not-give-value-6941968. According to a Passenger Focus report surveying 5,250 tram passengers on Manchester Metrolink, Blackpool tramway, Midland Metro, Nottingham Express Transit and Sheffield Supertram the Midland Metro came second from bottom in four out of five categories.
Value for money:
Value for money:
Tram stop: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/manchesters-metrolink-not-give-value-6941968
My photos of construction progress are shown below:
7 May 2014