UK: CAF to Supply Catenary-Free Trams to Birmingham

In addition to avoiding the need for on-site infrastructure installations, which could be disruptive and which would impact the architectural aesthetic negatively, the rechargeable batteries also make the trams substantially more energy efficient.

West Midlands Metro Network

The metro network currently features one line, which runs from Grand Central (Birmingham New Street) to Wolverhampton St George’s. An extension to Wolverhampton Railway Station is currently under way. To the south, works are under way to extend the line to Edgbaston via Centenary Square. A second line for the metro network to Stourbridge is also in planning, as is an extension to Coventry.

Catenary-Free Trams

The 21 new CAF trams will join the existing Urbos Fleet on Birmingham’s Line 1. The Centenary Square extension will open in early 2020. That will make it the first commercial tram line in the United Kingdom to operate a catenary-free system.

Unlike Alstom’s ground-level power supply, however, these trams use overhead power to recharge the batteries at stations. The trams are able to cover several kilometres thanks to the lithium batteries and the fact that they take advantage of recovering braking energy.

Urbos 3 Trams for Birmingham

CAF’s Urbos 3 trams will be articulated and bi-directional, featuring two cabs. They are low-floor and can run at a top speed of 70km/h.