Second line of Midland Metro to be built in phases

A long-awaited second line of the Midland Metro tram will be built in phases to keep costs down, bosses behind the project said today.

Transport chiefs say they are determined to raise around £268 million to take trams from Wednesbury out to Brierley Hill and Stourbridge. They say that breaking the line into phases, going from Wednesbury to Dudley first, will make the scheme more affordable and more likely to get financial backing given the government’s public spending cuts.

The aim is still to have an 18 stop line and Centro, which oversees public transport, wants to use business rates from new Enterprise Zones in Wolverhampton and Darlaston to cover costs.

The zones, including the i54 business park in Wolverhampton and surrounding areas as well as 14 sites in Darlaston, provide councils with the right to keep some of the rates they gather.

It has been 14 years since the original 23-stop line between Wolverhampton and Birmingham Snow Hill was launched.

Governments both of Labour and the coalition have never committed to funding it although Chancellor George Osborne did give the go-ahead to extend the existing line in Birmingham with a £127 million project.

In an interview with the Express & Star, Geoff Inskip, chairman of transport authority Centro, said the project is still alive.

He said: “We’re looking at doing it in phases. We don’t need to have all the money if we don’t do it all at once.

“We’re looking at raising funds with the local councils through the Enterprise Zones and the business rates. Black Country authorities have made it clear that the Wolverhampton spur and taking the Metro to Brierley Hill are important.

“There would need to be a connection from Wednesbury first, where it would meet line one.

“We could take it out to Dudley in a first phase and then on to Brierley Hill later on.”

The most recent plan for the line would involve the re-opening of a freight line between Walsall and Stourbridge.

Comments for: "Second line of Midland Metro to be built in phases"

PJW Holland

I think Centro must be told "hands off". The income from i54 should benefit the people of Wolverhampton and district (aka S Staffs)... It should not be devoted to schemes calculated to undermine Wolverhampton's City Centre.... which this scheme does.

Why not reinstate the Dudley to Wolverhampton route instead? Dudley have indeed built over part of the formation but a tram can be diverted at those locations. Bring back the Old Worse and Worse route... Local councillors should demand evidence of a demand for such a service other than the greed of the maverick Merry Hell centre.

Arthur John Blurton

WOULD IT BE A GOOD IDEA TO RE-OPEN & RE-BUILD THE WALSALL TO WORCESTER LINE WITH STOURBRIDGE JUNCTION & PUT THE MERRYHILL SHOPPING CENTRE ON THE RAIL NETWORK LIKE THE MEADOWHALL SHOPPING CENTRE IN SHEFFIELD & ALSO THE DUDLEY TOURIST ATTRACTIONS & ALSO RE-OPEN WEDNESBURY & ROUND OAK & BRIELEY HILL & LINK THE RAIL NETWORK ALL TOGETHER WITH RUGELEY & WALSALL TO WORCESTER & OXFORD WITH EVESHAM & HEREFORD & GREAT MALVERN & ALSO TO STRATFORD ON AVON WITH HONEYBOURNE & LONG MARSTON WITH KIDDERMINSTER & DROITWICH SPA & ALSO RE-OPEN THE PROPOSED WALSALL - SUTTON PARK LINE FOR BROWNHILLS & ALDRIDGE & SUTTON COLDFIELD LOW LEVEL RAILWAY STATION FOR IT WITH RYECROFT JUNCTION & PARK LANE JUNCTION TO WATER ORTON & COLESHILL PARKWAY & NUNEATON & DERBY AS A DEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR HIGH SPEED TWO!!

4 race & nation

Argee it is about time Dudley had a trian service. Also agree with your 2nd post.

Andrew John Blurton

IF THE WEST MIDLANDS TRANSPORT AUTHORITY CENTRO IS TO RE-OPEN THE CLOSED WALSALL - STOURBRIDGE LINE & SHOULD IT BE A NEW ELECTRIFIED RAILWAY LINE FROM RUGELEY & WALSALL TO OXFORD VIA EVESHAM & ALSO THE NEW PLANNED EAST WEST RAIL NETWORK WITH THE COTSWOLDS WITH CAMBRIDGE & STRATFORD ON AVON & FELIXSTOWE & THAMESHAVEN & THE PLANNED ANGLESEY ELECTRIFICATION WITH SHREWSBURY & CREWE WITH CHESTER & NEWPORT WITH HEREFORD & LIVERPOOL & MANCHESTER & PRESTON WITH CARDIFF CENTRAL & SWANSEA WITH PLYMOUTH & EXETER & BRISTOL & GLOUCESTER & SWINDON & NEWBURY & TAUNTON WITH LONDON PADDINGTON & ALSO LONDON MARYLEBONE WITH AYLESBURY & BICESTER & BEDFORD & WEMBLEY CENTRAL!!

Chase Terrace Wolf

Why did they need to extend into New St what a waste of money the walk is only 5 minutes and the shops in Snow Hill will lose money, the money could have been spent extending it to Merry Hill earlier but again Birmingham comes first.