Midland Metro started the service from Birmingham Snow Hill Station to Wolverhampton St. George's on 31st May 1999. The line had long been planned, parliamentary approval having been gained as long ago as November 1988. Construction work eventually started in November 1995 and was completed in early 1998. Sixteen trams were ordered for the line from Ansaldo/Firema of Caserta in Italy, designated type T69, these are 3 section articulated double ended design with a short centre section supported by the central bogie. The trams are also partially low floor with steps up to the sections over the bogies at each end of the tram. The trams were delivered in a new purple and red livery with yellow doors designed by Ray Stenning who is responsible for many of the modern liveries seen on public transport in the UK.
The Midland Metro route is largely based on the former heavy rail Birmingham Snow Hill to Wolverhampton Low Level line, passenger service had ceased in March 1972 although freight traffic continued along parts of the line until the 1990's. Snow Hill Station was eventually demolished and a new station was opened in 1987 when services started through the reopened Snow Hill tunnel towards Mood St. Station. The Jewellery line opened in 1995 and this paved the way for construction of the Midland Metro line alongside it as far as The Hawthorns where the Jewellery Line diverges off towards Stourbridge. The Metro line was constructed on the former heavy rail right of way as far as Priestfield where the new line diverges on to the Bilston Road, running on street into Wolverhampton. There have been many proposals to extend the line but finally in 2013 construction started on the city centre extension from Snow Hill to New Street Station via Colmore Square, Bull Street, Corporation Street, and terminating in Stephenson Street, the terminus now known as Grand Central after the shopping centre above New Street Station. This new extension was opened to Bull Street on 6th December 2015 and to Grand Central on 30th May 2016. This section will eventually be extended to Edgbaston via Centenary Square and Five Ways and will be partially battery operated in the city centre. In order to serve the new extension and to replace the T69 trams, Twenty-one Urbos 3, 5 section low floor trams were ordered from CAF in Zaragoza, Spain, these were delivered in 2013-15 and are numbered 17 - 37. The T69 trams were progressively withdrawn as the new trams were delivered, the final T69 no.16, making it's last run on 14th August 2015. Fifteen of the T69 trams have been transferred to Long Marston in Warwickshire, some for testing by UK Tram, the others for possible sale and re-use elsewhere. Four more CAF Urbos 3 trams are on order, these will come fitted with batteries, the twenty-one Urbos 3's already in service will be retrofitted with batteries over the next couple of years. This DVD was filmed between 2011 and 2016 and shows many of the changes that have happened to both the route and the rolling stock during this period.
Subtitles, no commentary, enjoy the sights and sounds of trams in the West Midlands.
Produced by - Bob Hodges Transport DVDs
Running time - 75 Minutes
Format - 16:9 Widescreen PAL (UK)
Released - September 2016