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Tram milestones point to bright future for light rail

By Martin Farrow

Significant milestones celebrated by two of the UK’s most popular tramways reflect the growing popularity of light rail.

While West Midlands Metro is currently marking its 20thanniversary, it’s been five years since tram services were launched in Edinburgh and both systems continue to go from strength-to-strength.

UK Tram, the organisation representing the country’s light rail sector, has praised the success of the two systems, which are both set to grow in size in the years ahead.

James Hammett, UK Tram Managing Director commented: “We would like congratulate Edinburgh Trams and the West Midlands Metro on these landmark anniversaries and their success to-date points to a bright future for light rail.

“Year-on-year the two networks have increased in popularity and made a huge impact on the communities they serve by improving the environment and boosting investment.”

While West Midlands Metro is currently seeing a massive expansion programme, Edinburgh Trams saw a 40 per cent increase in patronage between 2015 and 2018 and last year recorded 7.3 million passenger journeys.

Plans are also in place to expand the tramway in Edinburgh, following a clear pattern that’s emerged in other cities that have embraced light rail.

“Following the launch of services in other cities – including Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester – the many benefits they bring have been quickly recognised by local residents, businesses and visitors, leading to calls for more trams and wider network coverage,” Mr Hammett said.

“I’m pleased to say that, across the country, a number of expansion projects are currently at various stages of development and several other areas are considering investment in light rail as an effective solution to congestion and pollution.”

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