Article Source: IMechE

Transport for West Midlands will potentially add 50 battery-powered trams to its network as part of a £3.4bn investment over the next decade.

The UK’s first battery-powered ‘Urbos 3’ tram was launched in April, and the network is now expanding, alongside new suburban rail lines, cycle routes and motorway improvements aimed at making the most of the HS2 high-speed rail project.

“The West Midlands is leading the way on sustainable public transport in this country,” said Roger Lawrence of the City of Wolverhampton Council. “We launched the UK’s first battery-powered tram earlier this year, and now we’re adding more to the network.”

The battery technology removes the need for overhead electrical wires, opening up many more possibilities for tram routes. They will, for example be able to run underneath roundabouts and buildings – such as at Five Ways and Curzon St station in Birmingham.

Lawrence also said that they would retro-fit batteries to existing trams too. “We had to wait for the technology to catch up,” he said.

The tender could triple the size of the fleet, increasing it from 21 to 71 trams and adding more stops and services across the West Midlands. TfWM is currently looking for suppliers and will award a contract around May next year.

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