Posted by: adamha88 | March 23, 2010

Electric Metro planned through the heart of Birmingham

“Exciting”, plans have been announced for an electric tram system to run through the heart of Birmingham’s shopping district. The tram will connect Snow hill st to New street st, via Bull street and Corporation street.

It has been estimated that the project will boost Birmingham’s economy by 50 million pound annually and create 1,300 sustainable jobs.

What really interests me is, the emissions that this train may or may not produce. I currently haven’t found a reliable source which confirms the exact level of emissions that electric trams produce. Even if the trams themselves don’t produce emissions, they require electric lines to run on, which will either be overhead or underneath. So either way the environment seems to be at a loss, with the possibility of emissions from the trams themselves or the overall energy levels that are required for the tram systems to be operational.

If it does turn out the environment will suffer at the hands of the tram system, then the council / government should see that some 50 million pound it believes the tram line will create is invested into making Birmingham a greener city.

The main thing that I’m struggling to get my head around when it comes to the tram project is: Do we actually need it?

The tram line will be under one mile long … which is approximately a 15 – 20 minute walk at a leisurely speed of three mph.

Another point which could be looked into is the build itself. How will it be built? How will the Council ensure that the build doesn’t increase congestion levels in Birmingham city center?

However a point I feel I should make is: If the tram line decreases the amount of buses running in Birmingham town center then, the environment would more than likely benefit from the creation of the tram line.

So with all these questions filling up space in my head. The next step is to pick the most important ones:

1, At under one mile is the extension actually necessary?

2, What impact will the trams have on the environment?

3, What are the council planning on doing with the £50 million pound?

And put them to the people who know: Travel metro and Birmingham City Council.


  1. I caught the metro from Wolverhampton to Snow Hill for a good 2 years, and in that time it was a god-send.

    Ok it was absolutely rammed some mornings and on evenings, however it was cheap, reliable (most the time) and easy to catch.

    Despite this, I don’t personally see the benefit of the extension from Snow Hill to New Street. The distance isn’t that great and the time it takes to build the extension will only cause havoc in the city centre.

    Personally I don’t think it’s worth the money or problems the build will cause.

  2. surely the money would be better spent linking up other parts of the west midlands desperately strangled with inadequate roads and infrastructure.

  3. It seems to be a bit of a redundant plan really … I mean, it’s not that far to walk and it’s just going to take up much needed space.

    And surely, it’s not enviromentaly friendly to build somthing that its really needed.

  4. This new extension does seem a bit pointless (less than a mile?). If they were going to extend properly in Birmingham it would make the most sense to go up Broad Street as that’s not already easily accessible from any train station.

    Also, it would be nice to see some progress on the much-talked-about plans to extend the Metro as far as Brierley Hill or even Stourbridge. That would really help take some cars off the road!

  5. As Birmingham will be getting the high speed rail line it would be good to connect all the stations together, so if a tram system ran from the high speed station to new street to moor street and snow hill it will mean a moor free flowing transport system.

    Also the issue with the use of electricity is determined by how that electricity is made, if people stop moaning about having wind farms near them then we can utilise the 40% of Europe’s wind we receive. At the moment we produce 4GW (gigawatts) which equals 1.5% of UK electricity. We have an estimated wind resource 1100 GW, so if we utilise only half of our wind we could provide 100% of our electricity from wind. (This would mean about 200,000 wind turbines, so obviously that’s not exactly practical but other renewable energies can be used)

    What were we talking about again, oh yeah trams.

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