Midland Metro Alliance
A weekend visit to Birmingham's Grand Central coincided with changes instigated today to the interim tram terminus which stands immediately outside the station (much like Blackpool North plans). Expansion of the tram service from Wolverhampton into the centre of Birmingham will bring it to Edgebaston through the city's principal civic space in Victoria Square and Centenary Square, as well as the social and business hub of Brindley Place. Track connection work from Grand Central terminus begins from today to the new extension on which phased development is well underway. Images below by John Woodman on September 22nd.
Similarly at the other terminus in Wolverhampton a further branch is being constructed which will bring the Metro tram service directly to Wolverhampton Station, itself an important railway interchange outside of Birmingham. Midland Metro Alliance, now the responsible coordinating authority for the West Midlands transport system is in the process of strengthening its image and public perception with rebranding of buses, trains, trams into singular colours with the buses becoming predominantly red, local and regional trains gaining an orange theme, and the trams a distinctive all over blue. This comes with a coordinating diamond styled logo now appearing on vehicles. It should be also mentioned that bicycle lanes and signage will gain a green theme colour.
On-street service through the busy centre of Birmingham provides some useful tips for Blackpool's own short extension now advancing towards Blackpool North. The current extensions beyond Grand Central (as New Street Station terminus is now familiarly known) are already evident for this new service as far as Edgebaston. However two further important extensions are under planning (in addition to the Wolverhampton routes). Dudley will gain a tram service as far as Brierly Hill, whilst the HS2 rail line running to Birmingham involves two HS2 station stops in the east of the city, and a new light rail service connecting with NEC, Heartlands Hospital complex, and further important districts. The advantage of a strong coordinating authority with oversight of all urban and regional transport infrastructure is self evident for all strategic planning required by rail led capital projects. Application of this in the Fylde's own case is becoming more and more apparent on an achievable scale. Below : the rudimentary terminus at Grand Central for reversing trams to Wolverhampton. From today the trams will stay on the same inbound track to begin their return journey from this point with passengers both unloading and loading on the same platform stop. The outbound line will be regained in the commercial centre.
The new West Midlands Metro branding and diamond motif logo now being applied to all vehicles - with colour variants for buses and trains. A definite improvement on the fantasy pink and silver livery, fortunately now short lived on the CAF tram fleet.