West Midlands Metro – the tram service between Wolverhampton and Birmingham – is 20 years old this month (May 2019).
The service was officially launched on 30 May 1999 on the line which, at that time, ran between Wolverhampton St George’s and Snow Hill. The extension through to Grand Central/ Birmingham New Street station was opened in 2016.
To mark the anniversary, one tram has been fitted out with a special livery as a focal point of the celebrations. Passengers will be treated to some impromptu entertainment, cupcakes and squeezy model trams for kids.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “For the last 20 years, the Metro has given millions of passengers an excellent service between Wolverhampton and Birmingham, so it is only right to look back and congratulate everyone involved on this anniversary.
“However, we must also look to the future, especially as we continue work on trebling the network. Over the next few years we will have trams connecting new places including Dudley, Brierley Hill, Centenary Square, Hagley Road, Digbeth, Bordesley Green and Solihull. The first 20 years of the Midland Metro has been fantastic, but I hope the next 20 will be even better.”
West Midlands Metro director Phil Hewitt added: “We’ve come a long way since 1999. We now have a new fleet of modern trams to which we’ll be adding even more as the network grows and we’re introducing the UK’s first stretch of overhead line-free track when the extension to Centenary Square opens at the end of the year.
“We’ve a great team of people proudly delivering services each and every day and it’s good for them to see that the Metro is going from strength to strength.”
Passengers currently make over seven million journeys on West Midlands Metro each year, and the trams themselves cover over 2,000,000km. Passenger journeys are expected to grow to some 30 million when the current expansion programme is fully completed