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Wednesday, 4 July, 2001, 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK
Electrocution risk closes tram line
Metro
Overhead cable fears have closed parts of the Metro
The danger of a passenger being killed by trailing overhead cables has forced the closure of a metro line in the West Midlands.

Railway inspectors ordered the closure of a stretch of the Midland Metro in Wolverhampton when cables started to droop dangerously low.

Three stations have been shut and shuttle buses provided.

Inspectors said the closure was essential in the interests of safety.

Metro
Metro passengers were forced to use buses

Officials for the troubled 45m rail link said they were working hard to restore the service but could not predict when the stretch would re-open.

Alan Spence, of the Railway Inspectorate, said: "If the cables drop within reachable distance of the ground anybody coming into contact with them would expect to be killed.

"Serving a prohibition notice is not a decision taken lightly.

"But in this case the risk was thought to be such that we needed to stop the use of this stretch of line."

Dogged with problems

The service from Wolverhampton to Birmingham's Snow Hill station was opened in May 1999.

The rail link has been dogged with problems since its inception including windscreen wipers on train cabs which did not work and water leaking through the roofs of some trains.

Phil Bateman, spokesman for the Midland Metro, said: "I can't put a time on when the service will be restored.

"We're working very hard to get it open as soon as possible."

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