Light Rail Next stop Newhaven: Edinburgh tram extension gets green light Councillors in Edinburgh have voted to back the £207m extension of the city’s controversial tram network to Leith and Newhaven. Updated: Edinburgh does it again: Tram extension cost hits £207m Councillors in Edinburgh have now approved two contracts totalling £128m for the planned extension of the tram network, whose cost has risen by more than a quarter. No end in sight for Overground electrification debacle Transport for London (TfL) is to cut service frequency in half on its London Overground Gospel Oak to Barking line due to continuing problems with new electric trains. DfT evidence call looks to build on popularity of light rail Light rail and other rapid transit systems have the potential to play a greater role in UK transport networks, the transport minister has said as the Government launched a call for evidence. Siemens wins £1.5bn Tube train deal – with more to come London Underground has signed a contract worth £1.5bn with Siemens Mobility to design and build 94 ‘new generation’ Tube trains for the Piccadilly line. Bristol edges slowly towards congestion charges Bristol City Council has published a draft transport strategy that includes a mass transit scheme, as well as possible congestion and workplace parking charges. Potsdam trials 'first autonomous tram' Transport officials in Germany have launched trials for what they say is the world’s first autonomous tram. Spelthorne pitches £375m light rail link to Heathrow A council near Heathrow has submitted proposals to ministers for a £375m light rail link to the expanding airport. Nexus casts net worldwide for £500m Metro trains contract The operator of the Tyne and Wear Metro has invited ‘train builders from around the world’ to bid for combined contracts worth up to £500m. Four to bid for £90m Edinburgh tram extension contract Edinburgh City council has shortlisted four bidders for a £90m infrastructure and systems contract on the project to extend its tram network to Leith and Newhaven. VolkerRail to carry out ‘critical’ Supertram rail replacement The South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) has appointed local firm VolkerRail to carry out the second phase of the Supertram rail replacement in Sheffield, in a deal worth approximately £12m. Sustainable transport campaigners fall out over cycle path National charity Cycling UK has backed walking and cycling campaigners Sustrans in a row over plans to run a new light rail link alongside a walking and cycling route between Bath and Bristol. TfL looks to savings and Crossrail to reverse £1bn deficit Transport for London has insisted that it remains in a sound financial position, with savings making up for falling passenger revenue, despite a forecast deficit of nearly £1bn next year. Tram industry pledges to take forward Croydon crash changes The tram industry is to set up a new body to implement the recommendations of the investigation into the Croydon tram crash. Luton Airport awards contracts for £200m transit system A VolkerFitzpatrick-Kier joint venture has won a contract worth £119m for the main civils work on a new £200m mass passenger transit system at Luton Airport. Glasgow aims for 'fully driverless' subway trains The revamped Glasgow Subway could be the first rail service in the UK to run trains without any staff on board. £75m tram-train debacle 'provides only how-not-to lessons' The Sheffield-Rotherham tram-train project has been labelled a failure by influential MPs, who suggested it may only provide lessons for how not to run other schemes. £50m boost helps Wolverhampton push ahead with interchange The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) board has signed off nearly £50m to support the Wolverhampton Interchange project, which aims to provide a ‘world-class welcome’ to the city. Politicians rethink Glasgow airport link after report raises doubts Glasgow City Council has insisted that it and its City Deal partners are committed to taking forward ‘a surface access project’ to Glasgow airport, but is rethinking its current plans following a consultant’s report that cast doubt on the scheme. Khan slammed over 'copy and paste' response on tram driver fatigue London mayor Sadiq Khan has been heavily criticised for ‘evasive answers’ over concerns about driver fatigue raised before the fatal Croydon tram crash. Councils 'should not take on large projects like Edinburgh Trams' The former convener of Edinburgh Council’s transport committee has told the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry that councils should not take on large public procurement projects like the city’s tram network, as the council advertised for contractors to build a £162m extension. Sleep deprivation - A hidden killer? Transport expert Christian Wolmar argues that the sector needs to wake up to the dangers of tough shift patterns and a lack of sleep. Bristol commissions full study for 'perfectly buildable' underground Bristol’s mayor has announced a full feasibility study into a possible mass transit scheme in the city, part of which would run underground. TfL challenged over response to fatigue concerns before tram crash A senior London Assembly member has demanded answers over allegations that shift patterns led to driver fatigue – and a greater possibility of crashes – on the Croydon tram network where seven people were killed in a derailment. Controversial £75m tram train begins life on tram network Rail minister Paul Maynard was joined by transport leaders and representatives from a local hospital to launch the first tram train into passenger service on Sheffield’s existing Supertram network. Stop tram drivers falling asleep and speeding, operators told Radical changes to tram safety are set to implemented in the wake of an investigation into the fatal Croydon crash, which has recommended more 'active' intervention to prevent human error. 'Hurrah for this!' TfL to launch Night Overground Weekend 24-hour services will launch on the London Overground from December, following the success of the Night Tube. 'Reputational damage' as late £75m tram-train scheme passes red light Rail minister Paul Maynard rejected the advice of civil servants in continuing to fund the experimental Sheffield to Rotherham tram-train scheme, which is now set to cost five times its original budget. £200m call to DfT for Midlands tram extension as costs rise New West Midlands mayor Andy Street has asked transport secretary Chris Grayling for a contribution of at least £207m towards the extension of the Midland Metro tram network. TfL to bring mobile coverage to Tube after election Transport bosses in London are to take forward plans to give passengers full mobile phone coverage on the Underground network, according to reports. Croydon tram crash probe must act on dead man's handle concerns London mayor Sadiq Khan has raised a series of ‘alarming’ safety issues with the body investigating the fatal Croydon tram crash, including allegations of drivers falling asleep. Track link milestone for South Yorkshire tram train pilot The pioneering project to construct the UK’s first tram train system achieved a major milestone over Easter as the track connection between South Yorkshire’s Supertram network and the heavy rail network was installed. Second City Crossing completes Manchester's tram jigsaw Manchester’s ‘transformational’ Second City Crossing has now opened, providing the final piece of the 'expansion jigsaw' for the city’s Metrolink tram service. Speed sign at Croydon tram crash visible too late A new report into the Croydon tram crash has found issue with signage along the route, which failed to provide timely warnings to drivers. Luton Airport submits plans for £200m mass passenger transit system A council-owned airport has applied for planning permission for a £200m mass passenger transit system linking London Luton Airport with Luton Airport Parkway railway station. Bakerloo Line extension plans released Plans to extend the Bakerloo line have been unveiled, with Transport for London (TfL) setting out detailed proposals for station locations along the proposed route. RMT suspends Tube strikes The RMT union has suspended a strike by Tube workers that was due to begin at the weekend. Tube Strike: TfL services down but not out A strike by London Underground station staff has caused major disruption for commuters on Monday, with most or all stations in the central Zone 1 closed. Edinburgh trams 'going from strength to strength' Edinburgh Trams has hit back after the Scottish Conservatives published data suggesting that the £776m network was running at an average of 25% capacity. Derailed Croydon tram travelling nearly four times the speed limit The tram that crashed in Croydon, London last week with the loss of seven lives was travelling at nearly four times the speed limit. Edinburgh 'bleeding buses to pay for trams' Councillors in Lothian have expressed concerns about the potential impact of Edinburgh Council’s request for a dividend of £20m from the publicly-owned Lothian Buses. Midland Metro applies for £137m extension Midland Metro bosses have formally applied to the Department for Transport (DfT) on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), for a £137.2m extension through Birmingham city centre. London Underground hit by toilet break strike The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has confirmed that a 24-hour strike by drivers on two London Underground lines will go ahead from this evening (Thursday) in a dispute that is partly about toilet breaks. North East transport bosses plan fusion of Metro and rail Transport bosses in the North East have set out plans for a massive upgrade of rail and light rail across the region. McLoughlin backs £18m Wolverhampton tram extension Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has given the go-ahead for an £18m extension of the Midland Metro tram network in Wolverhampton. Tram and light rail usage hits modern day peak Use of trams and light rail in England continued to rise over the past year, with record numbers of passenger journeys and vehicle miles. Birmingham tram extension opens - with more to come A new extension taking Birmingham’s trams to New Street Station has finally opened, with help from Ozzy Osbourne. Tram passenger satisfaction rises as Leeds considers tram-train Passenger satisfaction with tram services has risen to 92%, according to a new poll. TfL rolls out Android Pay on Tube, buses, trams and trains Passengers in London can now use Android Pay on their mobile phones to travel on the Tube, buses, trams and most National Rail services. TfL launches live tram service information Transport for London (TfL) is making live service information about its tram network available to passengers. Luton airport announces £200m light rail plans London Luton Airport has announced a 20-year £1.5bn inward investment programme, including plans for a £200m light rail system linking the airport with Luton Airport Parkway railway station. TfL ups Tramlink frequency Transport for London's Tram network will see a 50% increase in service frequency from Monday. Tram-train first for UK Transport Minister Andrew Jones MP has today unveiled the UK's first tram-train in Sheffield, where it will run on both commuter rail services and the city's Supertram network. Edinburgh set aside £2m for tram inquiry costs The City of Edinburgh Council is set to fork out some £2m on an inquiry into what went wrong with the chaotic delivery of the city’s tram system. Councils welcome Metro role after £600m investment unveiled Council officers have welcomed an apparent Welsh Government u-turn over their role in the Cardiff city region Metro project to create an integrated public transport system. Light rail reaches new heights Light rail usage in England has risen to its highest level since records began in 1983, driven by a continuing rapid expansion in London, according to the latest government statistics. Edinburgh launches 'UK's first travel app for visually impaired' New features on the Transport for Edinburgh mobile app will help blind and visually impaired bus and tram passengers navigate more independently around the Scottish capital. Rapid transit a 'priority' for Midlands, as transport chiefs review options Transport chiefs in the Midlands have proposed a review of tram, light rail and bus rapid transit options to connect key towns and cities, stating this is a priority for the region. Ministers must 'get a grip' as fears raised over UK's first tram-train project Concerns have been raised over possible ‘significant delays’ to the UK’s first tram-train project, the £60m Sheffield-Rotherham pilot scheme. Birmingham marks major expansion of Metro service Birmingham has celebrated the start of a major expansion of its Midland Metro light rail system with a new £40m fleet of trams brought into service. Tram could be solution to Welsh electrification row, says expert Expert calls for tram investment to end rail electrification row between Westminster and Cardiff. Birmingham set for bus-based rapid transit system by 2016 Midlands set for its first bus-based rapid transit system, which could be up and running by 2016. Nottingham's tram extension delayed Nottingham's tram extension will not be open to the public until 2015 it has emerged, after contractors on the £570m project revealed that 'rigorous' testing would likely delay the project past this Christmas. Edinburgh tram project: Legal cloud hangs over launch Edinburgh City Council could be set for a bitter legal battle with its own defunct company Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (TIE), which was established to deliver the city’s tram network. Greenwich 'fully committed' to DLR extension despite opposition claims The Royal Borough of Greenwich has hit back at claims it has betrayed residents by shelving plans for a £1bn extension to the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). Blackpool BC green light £18m tram project Blackpool BC’s cabinet this week agreed to make a multi-million contribution towards a £18.2m project to extend the town’s tram system. Edinburgh consider Leith extension for tram project The beleaguered Edinburgh tram project could still make it to the end of the line as officials have produced plans to extend the network north of the city centre to Leith as originally intended. Metro approves £250m Leeds Trolleybus scheme ahead of public inquiry next month Transport officials in West Yorkshire have reiterated their commitment to the £250m Leeds Trolleybus scheme ahead of the launch of a public inquiry next month. Tube strikes continue across London Chaos on the London underground network has continued for a second day as members of the RMT and TSSA unions have walked out over the closure of ticket offices. Floods cause massive infrastructure damage across transport network The latest period of severe weather has caused widespread damage across the rail and road network as prime minister David Cameron has pledged a further £100m for flood repair. Centro launches campaign to promote £120m Metro scheme Birmingham residents are being offered more information on the forthcoming Midland Metro tram extension with an exhibition vehicle in the city centre. £3m light rail innovation competition launched The Technology Strategy Board is promoting a £3m competition to deliver innovation in light rail that will reduce the whole lifetime cost and impact of light rail schemes. Work begins on £165m Metrolink upgrade Work has begun on a second Metrolink line through Manchester city centre in order to improve capacity across the network, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has announced. Coventry-Birmingham tram 'could be built before HS2' A light-rail service between Coventry and Birmingham could happen before the arrival of High Speed 2 (HS2), transport authority Centro has suggested. McLoughlin calls for skills commitment Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has called on infrastructure chiefs to work with Whitehall to develop a skills legacy from its planned £73bn capital spend. Milestone reached on Birmingham Metro extension Construction of the new £128m extension to the Birmingham light-rail system has begun with the first tracks set to be laid. Road experts unveil new highways taskforce A new sub-committee has been set-up by the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) to establish best practice specifications for road re-texturing and re-profiling. Poll: Tube office closures 'concerning' The majority of users of the London underground network would be concerned if ticket offices were cut, a new survey has revealed. Leeds applies for Trolleybus powers Leeds much-delayed £250m trolleybus project has moved a step closer as local authorities apply for the key powers to build project. Edinburgh trams 'to cost same as bus' Ticket prices for the troubled Edinburgh tram service have been announced, revealing the cost to the city airport will be similar to the bus route offered. Edinburgh trams to be tested Plans for Edinburgh's beleaguered tram network to be up and running have moved a step closer as testing begins between the airport at Park station. End in sight for Edinburgh tram project The troubled Edinburgh tram project is pushing forward as works in the town centre are finished four months ahead of the revised programme. Skills shortage 'top concern' for contractors Rising costs and skill shortages are the greatest challenge to the infrastructure sector, civils contractors have warned. Centro rolls out smart technology New technology has been implemented by West Midlands transport authority Centro to make planning journeys easier, it has been claimed. Balfour Beatty lands £18m deal to extend Midland Metro Leading infrastructure group Balfour Beatty has been appointed to extend the Midland Metro through Birmingham’s city centre in a deal worth £18.6m. Welsh transport minister accused of putting the brakes on progress Concerns have surfaced over a loss of momentum in Welsh transport after new transport minister Edwina Hart has placed many of her predecessor’s schemes under review. Back in vogue: Is light rail set for another golden age? Alistair Gordon, chief executive, Keolis UK, discusses the future of light rail in this country. Manchester plans free WiFi roll out on public transport Manchester City Council has announced plans to extend its free WiFi access on public transport as part of £11m plans to roll out superfast broadband across the city. Light rail reaches 'highest level in the modern era' Light rail use has increased by almost a tenth in the last year to reach the 'highest level in the modern era', latest statistics from the Department for Transport (DfT) have revealed. Testing begins on Luton Dunstable guided busway Testing is due to begin on the Luton-Dunstable busway next week, following the completion of a guided track. OECD: Up infrastructure spend for growth The Organisation for Economic Cooperation Development (OECD) has claimed the UK should invest more in infrastructure for growth. Birmingham leader outlines transport vision Leader of Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore, has delivered his plans to ensure the city has 'among the best transport system in Europe'. Southend set to double transport spend Southend-on-Sea BC is to spend £15m on transport projects - double last year's total - it has announced. Wales needs more powers to tackle ‘transport poverty’ Wales should be handed further powers to control regulation of buses and prioritise rail investment in order to integrate its public transport network, according to a new report. Boris: funding uncertainty ‘benefiting’ contractors Suppliers of transport infrastructure to London are benefiting commercially from the capital’s lack of long-term funding certainty, London Mayor Boris Johnson has complained. UKIP councillors: Use miles not km 'to continue being English' UKIP councillors at East Sussex CC have called on officers to use miles not kilometres in documentation and signage in a bid ‘to continue being English’. Cambs reveals transport plan to avoid gridlock Major new transport infrastructure has been proposed in Cambridgeshire to prevent congestion issues in the next decade. Edinburgh's historic St Andrew's Square re-opened The historic St Andrew’s Square in Edinburgh was returned to public use today after the completion of all nearby road and track works for the city’s tram project. Centro unveils Midland Metro extension plans Plans to extend the Midland Metro through Wolverhampton city centre have gone on display as the region's transport authority, Centro, launches a six-week consultation on the route. Traffex Round up - Day One All the news from day one of Traffex,the 26th international traffic engineering, Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), road safety, parking and highway maintenance exhibition. Welsh national party calls for £1.5bn Metro guarantee The national party of Wales has called for the UK government to provide a loan guarantee for the proposed £1.5bn Metro public transport system for the Cardiff city region. Debate over £1.5bn Metro network plans for south Wales Plans for a £1.5bn Metro-style train system covering the Cardiff city region in south Wales demand a new arms-length delivery authority to make the project a reality, a report has warned. Edinburgh tram on track for summer 2014 Edinburgh’s controversial tram project is on route to be completed by summer 2014, after the city council took charge of a fully tested section of track. LEPs must have 'freedom to operate' says Pickles Communities secretary Eric Pickles has called for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to operate as councils see best, when implementing local transport strategies. Ensuring better ITS investments David Crawford welcomes fresh decision-making aids for more effective ITS and transport investment. Joint approval for Croydon’s planning vision Croydon has become the first council to have both its Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and Local Plan - Strategic Policies (CLP) approved by the secretary of state. £93m cash boost for Nexus’ Metro upgrade Nexus, the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive, will receive the maximum £93m cash boost for upgrading its light rail Metro network over the next three years. London still top when it comes to connectivity An independent assessment of major transport infrastructure across England has revealed the capital and its commuter belt far outstrips all other local authority areas for connectivity. Treasury urged to put infrastructure top in Budget The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has called on the Government to use its next Budget on 20 March to speed up delivery of the National Infrastructure Plan.