A total of 300 metres of rail have arrived at the Castle Hill site in Dudley town centre ready for installation to commence in the coming weeks as part of the extension from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill.
The delivery marks a significant step forward for the light rail project and follows months of work, and two evenings of localised overnight road closures, to prepare the site for this next phase of construction.
Preparatory work on the project got under way along Castle Hill in 2020 and since then the team at the Midland Metro Alliance (MMA), which is designing and delivering the route on behalf of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), has removed the road surface and upgraded and diverted utilities in the area.
In more recent weeks, one half of Castle Hill has been prepared for rail installation and future work will see concrete track beds poured ahead of rails being installed and welded in place.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “The delivery of the first section of rail is a really exciting moment and I am delighted that we will shortly see track installed along Castle Hill.
"This is such an eagerly-anticipated route, not least because it will better connect Dudley with more of Sandwell, Wolverhampton, and the east and west of Birmingham by tram.
"Not only that, but it will also provide a direct route for many across the Black Country to travel directly to the new Curzon Street station for HS2, providing links to the rest of the UK. This Metro extension truly is a game-changer for Dudley and the Black Country, and we’re pressing on and making it happen.”
Councillor Simon Phipps, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, added: “We have almost £1 billion worth of regeneration projects coming to fruition in the next few years which will change the face of the borough forever, and the new Metro route will play an integral part in this.
"It will help to create more opportunities for people in terms of jobs, training and connectivity and I look forward to seeing it take shape in the coming weeks and months.”
Tom Maplethorpe, project director at MMA, said: “The team have been hard at work undertaking a number of essential activities in preparation for the track to be installed, despite the ongoing challenges of the new wave of Covid-19 cases. Residents, visitors and businesses will soon start to see the area take shape in what will be a really exciting time for the project.”