The entire West Midlands Metro tram network is being shut down tomorrow for at least a month amid a safety alert.
The announcement came out of the blue this afternoon (12 Nov), with bosses blaming the discovery of a number of cracks on the trams, the same problem that has shut services down in the past.
The news will be a hammer blow to tens of thousands of commuters and shoppers heading into Birmingham and Wolverhampton with the peak Christmas season about to begin. The trams are also heavily used by football fans heading to West Bromwich Albion's Hawthorns ground.
The shutdown will begin tomorrow (13 Nov). No exact date for a resumption of services has been given but no trams will run for at least four weeks - taking passengers into the middle of December.Customers were urged to use alternative public transport, with tickets accepted today, Friday, November 12 between 3 and 7pm on National Express West Midlands 74 and 79 buses; as well as West Midlands Railway services between Birmingham and Hawthorns/Wolverhampton.A spokesman for West Midlands Metro said: "Earlier this year West Midlands Metro discovered cracks on our trams, which resulted in a temporary interruption to services for inspections and repairs."
"Temporary repairs were carried out to return our fleet to service as soon as possible but inspections have found that more extensive and permanent repairs are now required."
They said "To ensure the future safety of our customers and colleagues, we have made the decision to suspend all services from November 13, 2021 to carry out these repairs.""At this time we are unable to confirm when services will resume but we expect it will take at least four weeks."
"We have taken this difficult decision to ensure services can continue to run safely and reliably in the future."In the statement, West Midlands Metro apologised for the inconvenience, saying "We apologise sincerely for the inconvenience this will cause and we are working with Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) to ensure measures are in place so that our customers are still able to travel safely and reliably around the region on public transport."