First tracks laid for Birmingham Westside Metro extension in Victoria Square


In Summary

General | 11th February 2019
Tram tracks are now being laid in Birmingham city centre in a clear sign that construction of the West Midlands Metro extension to Centenary Square is continuing at pace and on schedule.

In Detail

Transport Minister Jesse Norman MP was the special guest to mark the laying of the first tracks for the Westside tram extension. Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street and local authority councillors also celebrated this key milestone in the construction of the extension from Grand Central to Centenary Square.

Midland Metro Alliance is designing and constructing the Birmingham Westside Metro extension in two phases on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

The first, between Grand Central and Centenary Square is due to open by the end of 2019. The second phase will take passengers along Broad Street to Edgbaston Five Ways and will be operational by the end of 2021.

The new services will carry visitors and commuters to key destinations and attractions including Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, the new HSBC headquarters, the Arena Central and Paradise regeneration sites, Brindleyplace, Symphony Hall and the Town Hall.

This light rail project part of a wider £1.35 billion expansion of the region’s tram network over the coming decade, with new lines serving Birmingham, the Black Country and Solihull.

Transport Minister Jesse Norman, said: “The West Midlands Metro network shows how government support can help to create a sustainable, accessible and innovative light rail system, which forms an integral part of a modern urban transport network. This is a great time to explore the incredible potential for light rail schemes across the country. Today’s wide-ranging Call for Evidence seeks new ideas and new support for the next generation of light rail, so that we make existing systems work better, and can work with cities and towns across the UK to create new ones.”

These are the first trams tracks to be installed in the city centre since 2015 when the extension from Snow Hill to Grand Central was under construction. The extension opened in May 2016.

Cllr Waseem Zaffar, Birmingham City Council cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “This Metro extension links communities from across Birmingham to the new key regeneration sites and job opportunities at Paradise and Arena Central. This extended public transport provision will also play a vital role in helping to cut traffic congestion which in turn will help reduce pollution in the city centre.”