Stephenson Harwood advises CAF on €90 million project for new trams in Birmingham

Stephenson Harwood LLP has advised Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF), in relation to a  90 million project for new trams in Birmingham by West Midlands Combined Authority, the organisation which manages transport and economic development in the region.

The deal will see CAF, a long-standing client of the firm, provide 21 new trams, with the option for a further 29, to Birmingham. As part of the transaction, CAF will also be providing a technical support and spares supply agreement (TSSSA), and, under an innovative contract, provide and service batteries for the new trams, as part of an onboard energy storage system (OESS). 

“These new trams mark a real step change in the approach to this type of transport in the UK, being the first trams in a high intensity network in the country to use batteries in such a way as to make them catenary free,” said Tammy Samuel, head of finance, Stephenson Harwood. “This technology means that the trams will be able to travel without being connected to the electricity network, thereby providing a more reliable and environmentally conscious solution to inner-city travel, and avoiding the need for potentially disruptive and expensive installation of overhead electrification equipment. As a team of multi-disciplinary rail experts, working on transformational and innovative matters, which bring the latest technological advancements to the industry, this project is particularly satisfying.” 

The new trams will join the existing CAF fleet on the Midland Metro line which links Birmingham to Wolverhampton and the extension to Centenary Square. The extension is scheduled to open in early 2020, and will become the first commercial tram line in the UK designed for catenary-free running. 

The Stephenson Harwood team was led by Tammy Samuel, who was assisted by associate Kulraj Badhesha.