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11 December: news in brief

Birmingham tramline extension opens early

THE next Birmingham city centre tramline extension has opened to passengers ahead of schedule. West Midlands Metro is now running services on the line to Centenary Square. It’s the first modern tramway section in Britain which uses battery trams, without the need for overhead wires.

Pacers offered to emergency services

LEASING company Angel Trains has announced plans to offer ‘a small number’ of Class 142 Pacer diesel units to heritage railways and emergency services following their withdrawal. Angel said the proceeds will be donated to charity. The National Railway Museum has already received one Class 142 for the national collection.

Stagecoach chairman Souter to step down

THE man who founded Stagecoach Group as a small bus company is stepping down from executive duties at the end of the year. Sir Brian Souter will cease to be chairman on 31 December, but he will remain on the board as a non-executive director from 1 January. Non-executive director Ray O’Toole will become independenf chairman on 1 January.

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