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Project Update

West Midlands Metro, United Kingdom [free access]

January 1, 2020

Key players: Transport for West Midlands (part of the West Midlands Combined Authority) is the developer. Midland Metro Limited (MML), owned by the WMCA, is the operator.


In July 2016, the Midland Metro Alliance was established to design and construct future network extensions. The alliance consists of the WMCA; a consortium of design experts from Egis, Tony Gee, and Pell Frischmann; and rail construction specialists Colas Rail – with Colas’ sub-alliance partners namely Colas Limited, Barhale, Bouygues UK, and Auctus Management Group.


Project description: Extension of the West Midlands Metro light rail transit (LRT) system.


Background: West Midlands Metro currently comprises one line, which connects Catenary Square with Wolverhampton and covers 28 stops. In December 2019, passenger operations commenced on the Birmingham Westside Metro Phase 1 extension, which spans 0.84 km from Grand Central, via Birmingham’s Town Hall, to Centenary Square and covers two stops.


Fare system: Fare can be paid through contactless smartcards (Swift), bank cards, and paper tickets. Passengers can use mobile ticketing on the My Metro app to plan their trip and to purchase tickets beforehand. The app is available on both the App Store and the Google Play store. Passengers can also use the Direct Debit feature where the monthly fare payments are automatically deducted from their nominated bank account.


In February 2019, West Midlands Metro deployed ITSO on Mobile, which allows Android smartphone users to purchase tickets with the Google Pay digital wallet on the phone, without requiring a separate Swift smartcard.


Ridership: The ridership on the line in 2018 is estimated to be seven million passengers. The ridership on the system is expected to be 30 million passengers in 2028.


Rolling stock: In 2012, CAF secured a contract from the West Midlands Transport Authority to supply 20 Urbos 100 trams. In October 2019, CAF secured another GBP83.5 million contract from the WMCA to supply 21 battery-equipped trams, provide spare parts, and maintain and renew the onboard lithium-ion batteries for the Birmingham Westside Metro extension of the Midlands Metro LRT.


This has resulted in the West Midlands Metro being the first LRT system in the UK to have catenary-free tram operations. 


Capital projects/ extensions: The WMCA’s 10-year, GBP1.5 billion investment programme includes expansion of the LRT by approximately 34 km and its linking with the HS2 (planned high-speed rail in the UK), mainline railways, and Birmingham airport. After completion, the network will cover more than 80 stops and provide over 20 transport interchanges. The extension projects are:







Recent developments:


 (1 GBP [Great Britain Pound] = 1.32 USD)