Fares, rail policy and DfT news

27.03.19

WMCA approves £450m funding for ‘game-changing’ Midlands Metro extension

Funding for a “trailblazing” metro rail link linking Dudley with Birmingham and Wolverhampton has been given final approval by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

Work will start later this year on the £450m scheme after clearing the “final hurdle” for the Wednesbury to Brierley rail link.

The project is projected to bring 2,000 new homes a year, 34,000 jobs and almost one million square feet of commercial space to the region.

The Wednesbury to Brierley Hill route extension, which will run largely along a disused rail corridor, was originally expected to cost £370m including £60m added as a contingency but this has since risen to £450m.

Once up and running, there will be 17 new metro stops along 11km of track and will half journey times compared to bus travel.

The £449m in funding has now been officially approved by the combined authority, and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) has started a feasibility study to investigate a further transport link from Brierley Hill to Stourbridge.

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Dudley Council’s leader Qadar Zada said: “There’s no doubt this is a trailblazer project which will have a massive impact on the borough, beyond transportation.

“It will be the catalyst for new homes, commercial opportunities, jobs and much more for this borough.

“It’s taken a long time to get to this point, but the funding makes this scheme a reality and I am very much looking forward to seeing work start in Dudley as soon as possible.”

The route from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill is being planned, designed and delivered by the Midland Metro Alliance on behalf of TfWM and WMCA.

West Midlands mayor Andy Street commented: “The Wednesbury to Brierley Hill line will be a true game-changer, bringing huge benefits to this part of the Black Country and acting as a catalyst for new housing, jobs and leisure opportunities.”

The route extension will improve connectivity to the DY5 business and innovation enterprise zone and link in with the planned multi-million-pound interchange in Dudley.

Roger Lawrence, the leader of Wolverhampton City Council, said it will be the “biggest light rail scheme in the UK” once work starts, and added that he was “delighted” that funding for this project has been approved.

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