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Corporation Street’s Metro tram rebuild reaches halfway point after six weeks

A multi-million-pound scheme to rebuild the tram track through Birmingham reaches its halfway point after weeks of tireless work.

And six weeks into the extraordinary project to rebuild the tram track in one go, the city is once again closer to getting our city centre back to normal.

Ten scenes from Corporation Street’s craziest week and there’s more to come

The West Midlands Metro tram route between Bull Street and Grand Central Stephenson Street is all being completely rebuilt and not without controversy

Work began on July 25 and, in the sixth week just gone, concrete has been poured along Corporation Street to bed in the new precast concrete blocks that will be the bedrock of the new tracks.

You can see our latest photographs in our Week Six photo story here:

In a marked change to how the line was originally built, the blocks have just been laid out one by one like a giant’s version of the children’s wooden railway kits made by Brio.

A complex new ‘delta junction’ is also being built outside of the JD Wetherspoon pub The Square Peg at the Corporation Street junction between Bull Street and Lower Bull Street.

Here, the tracks will have a lattice-style visual effect once laid.

View up Corporation Street from the New Street end with the tower of the Methodist Central Hall in the distance

The ‘delta junction’ will enable future trams to head down Lower Bull Street once the mile-long £227 million Eastside track is up and running in 2025.

It was the need to build this junction that led to the decision to rebuild and upgrade the Corporation Street, even though the original line had only been in service for five years and two months.

For reasons yet to be clarified, it seems the original track would have needed replacing in a couple of years.

Selfridges' new coat in the Bullring - pictured next to St Martin in the Bull Ring church and overlooking the Bull Ring Open Market on June 26, 2021

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Tram services update

The line which begins in Wolverhampton currently has no services running beyond Snow Hill / Bull Street.

Once Corporation Street has been rebuilt, the line from Bull Street to Centenary Square will reopen with stops en route including Grand Central and Birmingham Town Hall.

But when, exactly, will that be?

At the moment, the Midland Metro Alliance says it is not able to put a specific date on it – in other words, we could be halfway there, or we might not be.

Bull Street section looking towards Corporation Street where The Square Peg pub is on the left
Bull Street section looking towards Corporation Street where The Square Peg pub is on the left

To date, the weather has been remarkably benign and if we get more of the same going forward that will certainly help.

At the moment, the target date remains the whole month of ‘October’.

A West Midlands Metro spokesperson said: “We are still looking at October for the works to be completed and cannot be more specific than that at this stage.”

Once trams can reach Centenary Square again, drivers will then be looking forward to testing the new track all the way up to 54 Hagley Road.

The Westside Phase 2 extension along upper Broad Street is expected to go into service in December.

A 'K**P !T C!V!L with our staff' poster on Bull Street posted by the Midland Metro Alliance
A ‘K**P !T C!V!L with our staff’ poster on Bull Street posted by the Midland Metro Alliance

The Midland Metro Alliance has put up a couple of posters in key areas asking members of the public to respect its workers.

The signs say: ‘K**P !T C!V!L with our staff’

The notes add: “Our staff have the right to work in a safe environment and area here to help you. We will not tolerate violence, physical aggression or verbal abuse towards our staff.”

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