Rock legend Ozzy Osbourne was back in his native Birmingham today (26th May) to unveil a Midland Metro tram bearing his name.
The Aston-born frontman of Black Sabbath received a hero’s welcome from hundreds of fans who lined the city centre’s Corporation Street.
The tram was parked at a new stop forming part of the city centre extension that opens to passengers on Bank Holiday Monday (May 30).
The extension has been built by Centro, the delivery arm of the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority (ITA).
Ozzy said: “It’s great to be here and it’s a great honour. Once a Brummie always a Brummie.
Commenting on his forthcoming farewell tour with Black Sabbath, he added: “We never thought back in 1968 that we’d still be here, it’s been an incredible journey.”
Joining Ozzy for the tram-naming were Coun John Clancy, leader of Birmingham City Council, and Coun Roger Lawrence, the chairman of the ITA.
Cllr Clancy said: “Birmingham is the birthplace of many great people but Ozzy really is one of our most famous sons and I am delighted he has joined us.
“The opening of the Midland Metro extension will be fantastic news for the city and the region and having Ozzy here to unveil a tram bearing his name just adds star quality to it.”
Cllr Lawrence said he was delighted that the Metro would be expanding further across Birmingham and the Black Country over the next few years.
“These are really exciting times. The expansion of the Metro means future jobs and economic growth worth millions of pounds for this region,” he said.
“We’ve already started work on extending the route on from New Street Station to Centenary Square to open in 2019 while another extension through Wolverhampton city centre to the bus and railway stations is also expected to be completed around the same time.
“Funding has also been earmarked to take trams to Edgbaston, while the route of another extension through Digbeth has also been finalised including to the planned HS2 high speed rail station.”
The extension is part of a £128 million project which has seen the introduction of a new fleet of 21 Urbos 3 trams, a refurbished depot at Wednesbury and a new stop at Snow Hill station.
It is expected to boost the West Midlands economy by more than £50 million a year and create 1,300 new jobs.
The Midland Metro runs between Birmingham and Wolverhampton, serving locations such as the Jewellery Quarter, West Bromwich, Wednesbury and Bilston.
The new extension will deliver more than three million people a year directly into the heart of Birmingham’s main shopping district.
Steve Hewlett, manager of Birmingham City Centre Retail Business Improvement District, said: “Having the Metro running will be a great boost for city centre retailers, we are really looking forward to the future
“We welcome the customers it is going to bring and it was great to see Ozzy here too.”