Spanish rail maker CAF has signed a £40m contract with Centro, the UK's West Midlands transport authority, to supply 25 Urbos 3 trams.
The Urbos 3 trams will replace the current fleet of 16 Ansaldo Trasporti trams to meet an expected rise in passenger demand, following the opening of a 1.3km extension between Snow Hill and New Street, via Bull Street, Corporation Street and Stephenson Street.
Starting from 2014, the new trams will commence operation on the current route from Snow Hill to Wolverhampton, while the route from Birmingham Snow Hill to Birmingham New Street station becomes operational in 2015.
CAF commercial director Antonio Campos said the trams will make a significant contribution to improving transport links between Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
"The Urbos 3 tram is a stylish vehicle and will add to the character of the West Midlands," Campos said.Each of the Urbos 3 air-conditioned trams will have five sections that together can accommodate about 200 passengers, compared to a 156 passenger capacity on the current trams.
The Urbos 3 trams will be built in Zaragoza, Spain, and each of the five sections of the trams will have passenger information, CCTV information and protection, as well as passenger assistance units at each door.
CAF had previously supplied trains for the UK market, including the Class 332 trains for the Heathrow Express and 64 Class 333 trains for Northern Rail.
Image: Centro chief executive offer Geoff Inskip and CAF commercial director Antonio Campos signed the contract for 25 Urbos 3 trams. Photo: courtesy of Centro.