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Midland Metro Tram Drivers Represent UK at European TramDriver Championship in Berlin

Karol Wilski Cath Wood European TramDriver Championship April 2016Two Black Country tram drivers have been chosen to represent the UK in an international competition.

Cath Wood and Karol Wilski work for National Express Midland Metro, driving trams between Birmingham city centre and Wolverhampton. They were selected by to compete in the European TramDriver Championships, which take place in Berlin 23-24 April.

The competition, which takes place in a different city every year, will thoroughly assess drivers from cities across 17 different nations. A range of ingenious tests include stopping trams as close to a set of balloons tied to the tracks as possible, without bursting them.

Paul Barefoot, Midland Metro’s Operations Manager, is team coach.

“This is the first time we’ve entered this competition,” he says. “But I’m confident in our drivers. People think tram driving is easy, but it takes such a lot of skill to drive these things. We’re going out there to win it for Britain, and I think Cath and Karol will put on a good show.”

Karol Wilski has been a tram driver for three years. Originally from Poland, he came to the UK in 2012 and lives with his family in Bilston.

“I love being a tram driver,” he says. “It’s great to know you are providing a service for people who are off to school, or to work, going shopping or out with their friends.

“I am excited about the competition. But I’m also a bit nervous because I’ve never driven the kind of trams they have in Berlin. I don’t know how they behave. But I do love a challenge.

“My biggest fan is my son. He’s seven and he’ll be watching the online weblink at home in Bilston and cheering me on.”

Cath Wood from Wednesbury is one of the Midland Metro’s most experienced drivers. She has been driving trams for 11 years and drove the old T69s before they were replaced by the new pink Urbos 3 models.

“I knew about the competition and I’d seen the videos on YouTube. I’d always fancied going in for it, so when the email came round at work, I was ever so keen. When I talked about it at home, my partner said, “Go for it!” so I put my name down.

“I’m really happy to be chosen. My little girl is so excited - I hope I do well and she’ll be dead proud of me.”

Last modified on Tuesday, 19 April 2016 16:07

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