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Driver training gets underway on new route

Driver familiarisation has now started on a section of line that will connect the existing West Midlands Metro (WMM) system to Wolverhampton’s new integrated transport gateway.

When the route opens to passengers in just a few weeks, trams will call at new stops on Pipers Row and Wolverhampton Station as engineers from the Midland Metro Alliance (MMA) – which has designed and constructed the route on behalf of Transport for West Midlands – completes additional activities at the existing St. George’s terminus.

However, the ‘real world’ driver training, which builds on intensive work in a simulator at the Metro depot in Wednesbury, will mean that services to Wolverhampton will temporarily terminate at The Royal stop.

Sophie Allison, Interim Managing Director of Midland Metro Limited, the operator of WMM, explained: “As we prepare to bring the new stops into passenger service, customers may notice extra trams on our network, although these will be out of service.

“They will be used for driver familiarisation between The Royal and Wolverhampton Station stops and, until this training is completed, we will be unable to provide a service to Wolverhampton St George’s and trams will terminate at The Royal stop.

“We are committed to keeping our customers moving with a frequent service continuing between The Royal and Edgbaston Village and alternative travel arrangements are in place for anyone affected by this change to our service. I would like to thank our customers for their patience as we edge closer to connecting our first passengers with Wolverhampton’s bus and rail stations.”

The moves follow the handover of the new line to the Metro team by the MMA.

Laura Shoaf, Chief Executive of the WMCA, which owns WMM, said: “This handover marks the end of main construction and means we are ready to start driver training to prepare for the start of passenger Metro services to Wolverhampton Railway Station.

“Wolverhampton is now a better-connected city with the bus station, railway station and now Metro together in one location to provide accessible and seamless links across the region and beyond. We look forward to welcoming passengers on board once the drivers have fully familiarised themselves with the new track and terminus.”

John Roseblade, City of Wolverhampton Council Director of Resident Services, added: “It is great to see this important Midland Metro Alliance scheme nearing completion. Extending the Metro to the very front door of our new railway station is part of ensuring our award-winning Interchange project delivers the very best gateway to our city for all modes of transport. It’s great to know that passengers will be able to use the new route very soon.

“It is all part of how we are reimagining our city centre and better connecting passengers to events and venues like the newly-opened The Halls Wolverhampton, Grand Theatre and art gallery.”

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