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Government rejects Wolverhampton station funding plea

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Hopes of securing funding for a £154million new railway station in Wolverhampton have been dashed after the Government refused to force train companies to pay for it.

Hopes of securing funding for a £154million new railway station in Wolverhampton have been dashed after the Government refused to force train companies to pay for it.

Work on the train station including offices, a hotel and an extended car park providing 1,000 spaces was meant to start after the first phase of the £176m Interchange project, the £22m bus station at Pipers Row, finishes this summer.

But the Government has so far refused to fund it, despite a £1.8m glass footbridge currently being built over Ring Road St David's linking the new bus terminus with the railway station.

Wolverhampton City Council and developer Neptune had hoped to convince the Department for Transport that whoever runs the West Coast Main Line from next year should be made to pay for the rail development.

There are four possible winners, including current operator Virgin Trains.

Council transport chief David Orton said today: "Representatives of the council and Neptune travelled to London to meet with the senior DfT officials handling the franchise tendering process.

"The purpose of the meeting was to persuade the DfT officials to include the redevelopment of Wolverhampton Station within the new franchise for the West Coast Main Line. The reaction received was disappointing.

"The officials set out the process for the franchise tender but emphasised that Secretary of State Philip Hammond had stressed that the final franchise would be granted only on the best financial offer.

"In other words, although they would expect the franchise bidders to put forward investment plans to improve stations, if there was a business case, this would not particularly influence the final decision over the financial offer."

Council regeneration chief Councillor Peter Bilson said the authority would continue to lobby the bidders.

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