All tram services in the West Midlands were suspended until further notice for a third time in nine months on Sunday (20 March).
Metro services in the region have been halted once again after cracks appeared on some of the older trams.
TfWM said the inspections highlighted new bodywork cracks on some of the older trams which require additional checks from the manufacturer.
This is third time a suspension has occurred due to cracks on the network, which runs from Wolverhampton to Birmingham, (previously they were on the tram lines), and there is now some concern about the services, especially with the Commonwealth Games just around the corner.
Midlands Metro Ltd has today (24 March) provided further details about the suspension and how it will affect passengers.
Here are the five updates:
1. The West Midlands Metro service will continue to be suspended for a ‘number of weeks’.
Inspections of bodywork cracks have been undertaken on the older trams.
Due to the cracks, Midland Metro Limited is requiring the manufacturer CAF to replace the panels rather than repair the existing panels, meaning the service will be out of action for weeks.
Speaking to BirminghamWorld, TfWM interim managing director Anne Shaw, said: “It’s going to be out for a number of weeks.
“We’re just doing some assessments in terms of how quickly we can replace the panels that suffered the cracks that we found over the weekend, and we’re working out how many trams we can do at the same time both on the depot and locations nearby.
“We’re confident that we will have sufficient trams working for the commonwealth Games, as this is an ivolving situation we ant to make sure we understand how quickly we can do these panel replacements and we will be communicating regularly with our customers how soon we will get the service back up and running.
“We’re looking at a number of weeks.”
2. Customers will be refunded
West Midlands Metro service will process refunds for Metro tickets and passes for customers that have been affected by the suspension of services. Further details will be announced.
3. Customers can use Metro passes on buses until April
Metro tickets and passes will be accepted on a variety of National Express bus services and on all train services between Wolverhampton and Birmingham until Sunday April 3, when ticket acceptance will end.
4. Trams will be reliable for Commonwealth Games
Ms Shaw added that Midland Metro is confident of providing a reliable tram service in the region for the Commonwealth Games this summer, which get underway in June.
West Midlands mayor Andy Street previously said earlier this week: “My full expectation at the moment is that we will be resuming the service, running the extensions and having a full service for the Commonwealth Games.”
5. Passes can be used at stations
Metro tickets and passes are being accepted on the following alternative modes of transport and this will continue until Sunday 3rd April:
· National Express bus service 74 between Birmingham and West Bromwich
· National Express bus service 79 between West Bromwich and Wolverhampton
· National Express bus services 16 and 101 between Birmingham and Handsworth
· National Express bus services 9, 12/12A, 13/13A, 23, 24, 82, 87, 126, X8 and X10 to travel between the affected stops in Birmingham city centre
· ALL train services between Wolverhampton and Birmingham
But what happened the last time the trams were suspended?
The network was initially suspended in June after minor cracks were found on the lines in the city centre during an inspection.
After the services partially resumed, cracks were again discovered in some trams on November 13, with permanent repairs required.
Since the summer, individual trams were taken out of service on a rota basis, and the full service only resumed in February.
But after discovering cracks on some of the older trams, Transport for West Midlands have decided to suspend all services again as a precautionary measure as of 20 March until further notice.
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. BirminghamWorld is Birmingham’s latest news website, championing everything that is great about our city - reporting on news, lifestyle and sport. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.