The next generation of Midland Metro trams will be a vast improvement on the old ones, transport bosses have promised.

The new £40 million fleet of 20 hi-tech trams is almost completed and ready to be shipped to the Midlands from Spain, where they have been made.

The current tram line runs from Birmingham’s Snow Hill station to Wolverhampton, with a further extension approved to New Street station.

Due to enter service in April 2014, the new trams are being built by Spanish manufacturer CAF at its factory in Zaragoza.

The current 16 trams in service were built by Italian manufacturer Ansaldo and caused many problems.


The next generation of Midland Metro trams
The next generation of Midland Metro trams

 

Centro officials in the past described them as ‘rubbish’, with every tram having a different electrical layout, with wiring ‘like plates of spaghetti’.

When all the new vehicles are in service one will run every six minutes.

Geoff Inskip, chief executive of Centro, said the new trams will have lower floors, making access easier.

“Passengers will also notice that they are much bigger trams and obviously there’s a lot more space for people,” he said.

Platforms have been modified to accommodate the new trams.

The expansion of the Midland Metro is costing £128 million and also includes work to extend a tram depot in Wednesbury in the Black Country.

It is expected that the extension which goes past New Street station will carry more than three million passengers per year.

There are also plans to go further than New Street station.


The next generation of Midland Metro trams
The next generation of Midland Metro trams