UK DfT grants £59.8m for Midland Metro extension
The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has agreed to provide £59.8m for a Midland Metro tram route extension, which is expected to link Birmingham city centre with Edgbaston and the city's growing Westside area.
The new grant completes the total sum of £149m needed to fund the project, while another £84m has been raised locally by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Birmingham City Council, Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and other entities.
UK Transport Minister Paul Maynard 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.”
The 2km route extension will comprise five new stops and provide a connection from Grand Central outside Birmingham New Street station to Edgbaston.
It will also provide a direct metro link to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the International Convention Centre and Symphony Hall.
The line will be served by up to 10 trams an hour at peak times and is slated to become operational in March 2021.
Initial ground works for the project have already begun, and major construction work is scheduled to commence soon with the new funding secured from the government.
A part of the line is expected to be built without overhead power lines to minimise the impact on Birmingham’s historic city centre and other iconic buildings.
The trams on this portion of the network will operate using high-tech batteries.