Pensioners help spruce up future Midland Metro route

A group of pensioners has helped spruce up a disused rail corridor that runs on the proposed Wednesbury to Brierley Hill route for the Midland Metro.

Members of the Senior Citizens Enterprise Woodwork group in Dudley gave up their time and have built a variety of bird habitats to be installed along the corridor.

The group made 52 boxes to add to a further 50 boxes already purchased by the Midland Metro Alliance, which is building a number of new tram extensions for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

It is hoped that the 102 bird boxes will attract a wide-range of nesting birds this spring and doubles the amount of nesting space requested.

Andy Pearce, Midland Metro Alliance delivery manager, said: “We are really appreciative of the help from the group who have generously used their woodworking talents and given up their time to build these for us.

"This will help us to make a very real difference to the local environment.”

The group, based at Meadow Road Youth Centre in Wrens Nest handcraft everything from bat and bird boxes to dolls houses and rocking horses.

They have spent the last few weeks building a variety of boxes including open fronted boxes, standard 25mm and 32mm holed boxes and a number of Sparrow terraces.

The group acquire offcuts of wood from local suppliers to build the items.

William Darby, group chairman, 82, said: “We are happy to help with the project.

"The wood we have used is a rough type and perfect for treating. This would have gone into landfill or been burnt so this is a very sustainable way of utilising the material.”

Earlier this year, the Midland Metro Alliance began clearing the vegetation that covered the existing disused heavy rail line between Wednesbury and Brierley Hill which closed for passenger use in 1962.

It is planned to open in 2023.

Dave Probert, group member, said: “The tram will be a major lifeline for Dudley as currently so many public transport journeys involve many changes even relatively short journeys often require catching two buses.

"The tram cannot come soon enough.”

For more information on the work of the Senior Citizens Enterprise Woodwork Group in Dudley, contact William Darby at wdarby@sky.com.

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