A framework of West Midlands firms have won a prestigious £multi-million contract to deliver better rail connectivity across the Black Country and Greater Birmingham regions. The Midland Metro Alliance is to be launched on July 4 to bring together a team of planning, design, rail engineers and construction specialists which will build four light rail extensions in the West Midlands over the next decade.

The alliance comprises the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) which owns the Midland Metro light rail line, infrastructure contractor Colas Rail and its Cradley Heath based partners Colas Ltd, Barhale, Thomas Vale, Rail Safety Solutions and Auctus Management Group, and a consortium of design and engineering consultancies Egis Rail, Tony Gee and Pell Frischman.

“Alliancing agreements are a dramatic departure from traditional contracting methods as staff work as an integrated team and tie the commercial objectives of all parties to the actual outcome of the project”, said Councillor Roger Lawrence of WMCA on June 28. This replaces the traditional model of appointing contractors and designers on a project-by-project basis.

Work is already underway on a short Midland Metro extension from Birmingham New Street station to Centenary Square, with services expected to start running in 2019. Funding has also been earmarked to extend this line to Edgbaston by 2021.

A route has also been selected for a branch to serve the future HS2 station at Curzon Street, then running to Digbeth Coach Station and the Custard Factory. Opening is envisaged by 2023.

Work is due to start soon for an £18m extension of the other end of the line to Wolverhampton station, which is scheduled to open in 2019. A business case is also being prepared for a route from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill via the Merry Hill shopping centre.

‘The scale of the proposed development programme, and the commitment to a 10-year duration provides us with a unique opportunity to develop efficient bespoke solutions, build long-term relationships with key stakeholders and to play a major role in the enhancement of the communities within which we will be operating’, said Midland Metro Alliance Director, Iain Anderson.

Midland Metro Alliance to Exhibit at the Black Country’s Growth Hub Meet the HS2 (BIM) Design Team event

West Midlands firms will get the first chance to get some early project engagement with Midland Metro Alliance at the Black Country Growth Hubs forthcoming BIM event being held in Smethwick on 14th July 2016 when their design and engineering team will be taking an exhibition stand to field enquiries about the forthcoming supply chain requirements resulting from their new 10 year contract.

The Growth Hub continually work hard to forge links between regional firms and stage events that will be valuable to your business – whether that’s by imparting their knowledge, introducing you to buyers from the region’s major regeneration schemes or showing you how to develop new skills (BIM) to diversify into new markets to access opportunities.

You can find out more about Black Country Growth Hubs “Meet the HS2 (BIM) Design Team“ event here.