West Midlands Metro rolling stock

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The West Midlands Metro is a passenger light rail line in the West Midlands conurbation in England, which opened in 1999. Its rolling stock consists of 21 Urbos 3 trams which came into service in 2014/15, replacing the older T-69 trams which had operated the line since 1999.

Urbos 3[edit]

Urbos 3
Midland Metro tram no. 20 on display at St. Georges, Bilston Street, Wolverhampton, geograph-4028311-by-P-L-Chadwick.jpg
Urbos 3 No.20 on show at Wolverhampton
In service2014 – Present
Built atZaragoza, Spain
ReplacedAll remaining T69
Number built21
Formation5 sections with 4 articulations.[1]
Fleet numbers17-37
Capacity210 (54 seats, 156 standing)[1]
Operator(s)West Midlands Metro
Line(s) servedWolverhampton - Birmingham
Car length33 m (108 ft 3 in)[1]
Width2.65 m (8 ft 8 in)[1]
Height3.4 m (11 ft 2 in)
Maximum speed70 km/h (43 mph)[1]
Weight56 tonnes (55 long tons; 62 short tons)
Traction systemTwelve 80 kW (110 hp) traction motors
Electric system(s)750 V DC OHLE
Current collection methodPantograph
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) Standard gauge

A new fleet of 21 CAF Urbos 3 trams began to enter service in September 2014, they replaced the old T-69 fleet in 2015.[2] In February 2012 Centro named CAF the preferred bidder for a contract to supply 19 to 25 Urbos 3 trams.[3] A £40 million firm order for 20 was subsequently signed, with options for five more.[4] The first of the new trams was unveiled at the Wednesbury depot in October 2013,[5] with the first four entering service on 5 September 2014.[2]

The new fleet provided an increased service of 10 trams per hour in each direction, with an increased capacity of 210 passengers per tram, compared with the 156 passengers on the former T69 trams. The Urbos 3 trams are 33 m (108 ft) long; 9 m (30 ft) longer than the former T69 stock, and have a maximum operating speed of 70 km/h (43 mph). They are low floor throughout, and consists of five sections with four articulations. Three of the modules are mounted on bogies and the other two modules are suspended.[1]

At 2.65 m (8 ft 8 in) wide, The Urbos 3 trams are slightly wider than the 2.48 m (8 ft 2 in) wide T69s. The line was closed for two weeks during March and April 2013, in order for the platforms on each of the stops to be narrowed by 15 cm (5.9 in) to accommodate the new trams. The T69s were modified with wider steps to be compatible with the narrower platforms.[6]

In 2016, it was announced that the Urbos 3 fleet would be fitted with rechargeable batteries to allow them to operate along various extensions of the Midland Metro network intended to be constructed without overhead lines.[7]. The first tram to be fitted this way, number 31, was relaunched in a new blue livery on 16 July 2018.[8]

Fleet Number Tram Name Livery[9] Notes
17 Silver and magenta Fitted with rechargeable batteries.[10]
18 Silver and blue with adverts[11] Fitted with rechargeable batteries.[10]
19 Silver and magenta
20 Silver and magenta
21 Silver and blue with adverts[12] Fitted with rechargable batteries.[10]
22 Silver and magenta
23 Silver and magenta
24 Silver and magenta
25 Silver and magenta
26 Silver and magenta Damaged due to a derailment in the depot, and out of service.[9]
27 Silver and magenta
28 Silver and magenta Fitted with rechargable batteries.[10]
29 Silver and magenta
30 Silver and magenta
31 Cyrille Regis[13] Blue Fitted with rechargeable batteries.[10]
32 Silver and magenta
33 Silver and magenta
34 Silver and magenta
35 Angus Adams Silver and magenta Named by Elizabeth II on the 19 November 2015.[14] Fitted with rechargeable batteries.[10]
36 Silver and blue with adverts[15] Fitted with rechargeable batteries.[10]
37 Ozzy Osbourne Network West Midlands Named by Osbourne on 26 May 2016.[16] Fitted with rechargeable batteries.[10]

Former fleet[edit]


Midland Metro tram.jpg
Tram 05 in original livery at West Bromwich Central
In service1999 – 2015
Built atNaples, Italy
Constructed1996 – 1999
Number built16
Number preserved3 (1 for use as an engineering vehicle)
Number scrapped13
Formation2 sections per tram, articulated intersection
Fleet numbers01–16
Capacity156 (56 seats, 100 standing)[17]
Operator(s)National Express Midland Metro
Line(s) servedWolverhampton - Birmingham Snow Hill
Car body constructionAluminium
Car length24.36 m (79 ft 11 in)[17]
Width2.48 m (8 ft 2 in)[6]
Height3.7 m (12 ft 2 in)
Maximum speed43.5 mph (70 km/h)
Weight38 tonnes (37 long tons; 42 short tons) per tram [17]
Traction systemFour 105 kW (141 hp) separately-excited DC traction motors
Electric system(s)750 V DC Overhead lines
Current collection methodPantograph
Type: Brecknell Willis high reach
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)

Sixteen T-69 trams, were the original fleet, introduced into service in 1999, These were withdrawn from service gradually during 2014/15 as the new Urbos 3 fleet was introduced. The last, no. 16, was withdrawn from service in August 2015.[18]

In February 2016 proposals were unveiled to convert the Isle of Wight Island Line into a tram line. It was reported that the remaining T-69s could be purchased second hand and re-used for this scheme.[19]

The T69s were used only on the Midland Metro, and were built by the Italian company AnsaldoBreda. Their closest "brothers" were the SL95 running in Oslo, Norway. At 24.36 m (79 ft 11 in) long, the T-69s were the shortest modern tramcars in Britain. The vehicles are articulated, resting on three bogies, and have low floors over about 60% of the length. The central section of the trams is low floor, with inwards facing seating at the sides, while at each end is a raised seating area, accessible by steps. Each tram has 56 seats, with space for another 100 standing. They are accessible from three 1.25 m (4 ft 1 in) wide entrances on each side, with twin plug doors.[17]

At delivery, all trams had a livery of a blue body, red fronts, grey skirt and yellow doors, but several were refurbished and repainted in Network West Midlands' silver and magenta livery. From their entry into service, each tram had a roller-blind style destination board. in 2013, these were replaced with new LED Destination boards on all trams.[20]

Most trams were named after local celebrities or people of note.[9] After withdrawal 1-15 were placed in storage at Long Marston. In 2018 two were donated for preservation with the remaining 13 sold for scrap. Tram 16 remains at Wednesbury Depot, having been retained as an engineering vehicle. [21][22]

Fleet Number Tram Name Livery Notes
01 Original (blue, red, grey, yellow) Scrapped
02 Original Scrapped
03 Ray Lewis Original Scrapped
04 Sir Frank Whittle Original Scrapped
05 Sister Dora Silver and Magenta Scrapped
06 Alan Garner Original Scrapped
07 Billy Wright[23] Silver and Magenta Preserved by UK Tram[21]
08 Joseph Chamberlain Original Scrapped
09 Jeff Astle Silver and Magenta Scrapped
10 John Stanley Webb Silver and Magenta Scrapped
11 Theresa Stewart Birmingham Corporation Preserved by City of Birmingham[21]
12 Original Scrapped
13 Anthony Nolan Original Scrapped
14 Jim Eames Original Scrapped
15 Agenoria Original Scrapped
16 Gerwyn John[24] Original Retained as engineering vehicle

Maintenance vehicles[edit]

National Express Midland Metro, the operator of the tramway, acquired a number of vehicles for maintaining the line. These included a Unimog,[25] a road-rail lifting platform and one of the formerly used T69s (Tram 16).[26]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "CAF trams for Midland Metro Expansion Project". The Rail Engineer. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b "New Midland Metro trams launched into service". Centro. 5 September 2014. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  3. ^ "CAF named preferred bidder to supply new Midland Metro trams". Railway Gazette International. 2 February 2012.
  4. ^ "Work begins on £128m Midland Metro expansion project". Railway Gazette International. London. 22 March 2012.
  5. ^ "Midland Metro unveils first CAF tram". Railway Gazette International. London. 16 October 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Essential Engineering Works". Network West Midlands. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  7. ^ "Midland Metro trams to be converted for catenary-free operation". Railway Gazette. 12 February 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  8. ^ "In Pictures: Blue is the colour as West Midlands Metro new livery unveiled". British Trams Online News. 16 July 2018. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  9. ^ a b c "West Midlands Metro fleet list". British Trams Online. 17 February 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h "In Pictures: West Midlands Metro 17 returns to service". British Trams Online News. 20 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  11. ^ "In Pictures: Double Just Eat helpings on West Midlands Metro". British Trams Online News. 23 February 2019. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  12. ^ "In Pictures: West Midlands Metro 21 receives adverts for Just Eat". British Trams Online News. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  13. ^ "Cyrille Regis: Metro tram in memory of footballer". BBC News. 18 January 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  14. ^ "Royal seal of approval for Midland Metro". Centro. 19 November 2015. Archived from the original on 21 March 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  15. ^ "In Pictures: 36 gets partial relivery – including adverts". British Trams Online News. 7 February 2019. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  16. ^ "Ozzy Osbourne has Birmingham tram named after him". BBC Online. 26 May 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  17. ^ a b c d Boynton 2001, pp. 80.
  18. ^ "End of the line for original Metro trams". Express & Star. 12 August 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  19. ^ "IS THE FUTURE TRAMS AND STEAM TRAINS INTO RYDE?". islandecho.co.uk. Island Echo. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  20. ^ "Midland Metro : Trams". The Trams.co.uk. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  21. ^ a b c Original Midland Metro tram to go on display Birmingham Mail 26 February 2018
  22. ^ "Two Ansalso Trams for Preservation" Modern Railways April 2018 page 86
  23. ^ "Midland Metro : Trams : 07". TheTrams.co.uk. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
  24. ^ "16 'Gerwyn John'". TheTrams.co.uk. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  25. ^ "Ancillary vehicle at Wednesbury depot". Thetrams.co.uk.
  26. ^ "Ancillary vehicle at Wednesbury depot". Thetrams.co.uk.