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Long-awaited Aldridge train station edges nearer

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Long-awaited plans for a railway station in Aldridge have moved a step closer after a £3 million grant toward the ambitious project was received.

The proposal was revitalised last year following the announcement of the Midlands Growth Strategy. And now The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership has given a multi-million pound grant to the scheme for this financial year. Initially £4.1m was put forward, but this has since been reduced to £3m.

The rest of the funding has gone to the West Coast Mainline HS2, plans for the Wolverhampton to Willenhall Metro extension and M5 Junction 1 improvement works.

Councillor Lee Jeavons, deputy leader of Walsall Council, released a statement on behalf of the authority and the Black Country LEP.

He said: "I can confirm that this is a ring-fenced partnership project, which is going through the early stages of a detailed process with stakeholders for future development.

"In the meantime as people would expect we are utilising the funding available to deliver more immediate projects and we will re-allocate this accounted for money to its intended use when it is needed and for which we are accountable."

The station, which was based in Station Road, opened in 1879. It served the 13-mile Sutton Park line from Walsall to Sutton Coldfield, providing links to Wolverhampton and Birmingham.

But it closed in 1965, a victim of the then-Government railway purge. The line remains open for freight purposes.

The site is now overgrown with little evidence of the station.

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Previously, Walsall Council and Centro asked Network Rail to consider electrifying the Sutton line.

It was said the line would operate from Walsall to Sutton Coldfield, via Streetly.

And it was said a station in Aldridge could open.

Aldridge councillor and former chairman of Centro, Gary Clarke, welcomed the move and said something should be done soon.

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He said: "When I was Centro chairman in 2004 it came up about the station and reopening of the line. People wanted it off the agenda, I kept it on.

"I welcome the funding, but I will add we will have to wait and see what happens.

"I am all for it, but I don't know what can be achieved, especially as so little has been said and done in recent years."

He added: "I would like to see detail about where the station would go.

"I have no doubt it would be of benefit to local people, getting connections to nearby cities and towns."

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