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Birmingham to see tram extension

Birmingham to see tram extension

Construction work will soon begin on an extension to the Midland metro tram system, after new government funding was confirmed.

The Department of Transport has announced £59.8 million of central funding towards the £149 million project, which will see five new stops being added to the system as it extends westward from Birmingham city centre. 

At present, the line terminates outside New Street railway station, but it will now extend to the Town Hall, Centenary Square, Brindley Place and then to two stops in Edgbaston on either side of the Five Ways roundabout. This will help ease congestion on the busy A456, the main westward route in and out of the city. 

Transport minister Paul Maynard came to Birmingham to make the announcement. He said:  "Midland Metro is already a success story, with passenger journeys up nearly a third this year compared to last year.

"This new extension will be a further boost to Birmingham businesses and make travelling to work easier for commuters.

"But, just as importantly, it will help ease the pressure on the roads as it will provide an alternative for getting in and out of the city centre."

Originally consisting of a single line from Wolverhampton to Birmingham Snow Hill station running along old railway lines, the system has already been extended with the line now running along the streets of Birmingham city centre.

A number of other future extensions are on the way. These include an eastward expansion in Birmingham via the HS2 station to be built at Curzon Street and out beyond to Birmingham Airport. In the Black Country, one new line will serve Dudley and the Merry Hill centre, while the line in Wolverhampton City Centre will now be extended to the transport interchange. 

Edinburgh is also set to expand its tram system, with plans for an eastward extension through Leith as far as Newhaven being unveiled last week. 

It will mean significant disruption as construction work takes place, with Leith Walk being down to one lane.

Image: iStock

 

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