Press Release

Balfour Beatty joins Centro for laying of first track for Midland Metro station link extension

7 November 2013


Balfour Beatty, the UK’s largest infrastructure company, laid the first track for the £18.6 million extension to the Midland Metro in Birmingham City Centre for its customer Centro this week.

They are the first of 1.5 kilometres of track that will soon provide a surface light rail link between Snow Hill and New Street stations, serving more than 3.5 million passengers a year.

Balfour Beatty will be using its wide range of light rail capabilities in the delivery of the project, including those of its professional services division, Parsons Brinckerhoff, the engineering consultants for Manchester’s Metrolink, the Phoenix Arizona Light Rail and Bangkok Mass Transit System, Thailand. The company will utilise its civil engineering expertise in the construction and testing of the project to provide best value to Centro.

In addition to new tram infrastructure, the project involves substantial improvements to the street scene and public realm including natural stone paving, street furniture, lighting and landscaping. Following completion of detailed design and advanced works, construction started in July this year and an operational service will be introduced by 2015.

Chris Haworth, Centro Project Manager said: “This is a significant moment for the Metro extension as it has been 60 years since the last tram ran in Birmingham.

“We are pleased that Balfour Beatty, with their wide range of experience in delivering similar light rail systems across the world, will be helping us to deliver this project and provide best value for money for our residents and businesses in doing so.”

Steve Davies, Balfour Beatty Managing Director for the Midlands, said: “We are delighted to be celebrating the achievement of this significant milestone with Centro and Birmingham City Council.

“Despite the complexity of the construction works and the highly confined space we will be operating in, the works are progressing at an excellent pace.

“Balfour Beatty has a wide range of experience in delivering mass transit systems internationally and we look forward to providing Birmingham with a world-class tram system by 2015.”

The project is part of a £127 million extension of the Metro from Snow Hill to New Street that is expected to create more than 1,300 new jobs and boost the West Midlands economy by more than £50 million a year. 

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Notes to editors:

  1. Once complete the project will see:
    - 4,000 cubic metres (around 8,000 tonnes) of concrete used
    - A total track length of 1.4km 
    - 3,000 sleepers installed, each sleeper weighing 100kg
  2. Consultation has already taken place on Centro’s proposals to extend the Metro from New Street Station through Paradise Circus and up to Centenary Square.
  3. There are also plans to extend Metro in Wolverhampton city centre, with an extension along Piper’s Row and a stop directly outside the bus station before terminating at the rail station. The funding package for this extension is being discussed by Centro and partners Wolverhampton City Council, Neptune Developments, Network Rail and Virgin Trains as part of the Interchange Phase 2 project.
  4. The new fleet of trams, being built by Spanish manufacturer CAF, will start running in 2014, bringing major benefits to passengers by substantially increasing capacity and allowing an increase in frequency of service to every six minutes throughout the day. 
  5. Balfour Beatty’s UK construction business ( is a leading integrator of complex, sophisticated and innovative projects that improve the UK’s national infrastructure and an experienced provider of local and regional projects that help build lasting communities.
    We offer a broad range of capabilities in construction, civil engineering and mechanical & electrical engineering services.
  6. With offices throughout the UK, we deliver a locally-focused service with the support of our national network of expertise and resources.
  7. Balfour Beatty’s UK construction business employs 10,000 people. Balfour Beatty ( is a global infrastructure group that delivers world class services essential to the development, creation and care of infrastructure assets; from finance and development, through design and project management to construction and maintenance. Our businesses draw on more than 100 years of experience to deliver the highest levels of quality, safety and technical expertise to our clients principally in the UK, the US, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. We continue to develop our business in key growth markets in South Africa, Australia, Canada, Brazil and India.

    With proven expertise in delivering infrastructure critical to support communities and society today and in the future, our key market sectors include transportation (roads, rail and aviation), power and energy, mining, water and social infrastructure such as hospitals and schools.
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