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Calls for trams to travel from centre to station in extension plan

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

A row has broken out over the route of a multi-million pound extension planned for the Midland Metro in the Black Country.

Transport chiefs are still working on plans for the £30 million expansion of tram lines in Wolverhampton.

But the current proposals would see trams travel to either St George's terminus in the city centre or to the proposed new terminus at the city's bus station- not both.

The Campaign for Rail has called on transport authority Centro to reassess the plans amid concerns it could lead to confusion.

Members say the trams should travel to St George's, before the driver swaps ends and then steers the vehicle along Piper's Row to the city's bus station.

But Centro says trams calling at both stops would mean 'unnecessarily longer journeys'.

Ian Jenkins, spokesman for Campaign for Rail, said: "At the moment, some of the trams would be going to St George's and some would be going to the railway and bus station.

"We don't understand why this is.

"I think people will be confused and may end up not knowing what station to go to to catch the tram at certain times.

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"The better alternative would be to run them into St George's, get the driver to go up the other end and then it can travel back out to the bus station.

"We think it will be the most sensible way and will give public confidence."

A public consultation took place earlier this year over the plans.

But Paul Griffiths, Metro and Sprint programme director for Centro, said trams stopping at both stops would mean drivers stopping at St George's and walking to the other side of the tram before carying on down Piper's Row.

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"It makes more sense for services to go direct to the station when there is a demand at peak periods, then to St George's during the day when more people want use the shops," he said.

"As such we will be investing in St George's but we have still to decide on the exact timetabling.

"We will be working closely with Wolverhampton City Council and consulting with the public and other groups to establish what level of service to both stops will work best for the city."

Work is currently being carried out on an extension of the Metro line in Birmingham, linking its current terminus in Snow Hill with New Street station.

Meanwhile, five months of work will get under way in July on improvements to the tram tracks along Bilston Street, in Wolverhampton.

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