Dated Black Country railway station set for upgrade as mayor plans 'crucial hub' future
An outdated railway station will become a crucial focus for public transport in the Black Country, says the elected mayor for the West Midlands.
Dudley Port railway station is set to get a £2.4 million upgrade next year, to coincide with the first trams which will connect the station to Dudley town centre.
But Andy Street said the station could be in line for a full rebuild if a business case could be made.
The station's low-level platforms, which have been out of use since the closure of the Stourbridge-Walsall railway line in 1964, are due to reopen next year for the first phase of the West Midlands Metro tram link. This will see trams run from the existing line at Wednesbury, through Dudley Port and on to Dudley town centre.
Mr Street said the arrival of the Metro link would mean the station would once more play an important role in the region's transport infrastructure, linking Dudley to the national rail network.
And an initial £2.4 million upgrade of the station, by the end of next year, could be followed by a complete rebuild if a business case can be made.
Mr Street said: "With the £2.4 million upgrade, the connection between the railway station and the Dudley Port tram link will become more important.
"From the centre of Dudley you will be able to travel from Dudley Port on the West Coast Mainline."
It will not be served by inter-city express trains, though, which will continue to stop at Sandwell & Dudley station two miles away.
The initial work will focus on making the station more welcoming to users, with a new lift and staircase to the tram connection, as well as providing better access for cars, buses, cyclists and pedestrians.
There will also be an improved walkway from Park Lane East, removing the steps on the existing footbridge. New information boards will be installed detailing rail, tram and bus connections, and lighting and CCTV coverage will be increased. The area around Station Drive will be landscaped.
But the funding will also be used to put together the business case for a total redevelopment of the station, which is hampered by the large flights of steps to the platforms. It is one of the busiest stations in the West Midlands without step-free access to the trains.
Mr Street said: “With the new Metro stop and a high-quality cycleway both in development to join the railway station at Dudley Port we’re making major investments in transport infrastructure to better connect local people and benefit the Black Country for many years to come.
“This interchange hub will draw these various transport modes together, providing a seamless link to get the tram or train regardless of whether residents arrive by bus, car, bike or on foot. All in all, our ambition is to fully transform Dudley Port Railway Station."
Mr Street said the improvements would open up leisure, investment and employment opportunities for generations to come.
Dudley Port is the only railway station to connect to the new tramline, which will eventually continue to the Merry Hill centre and Brierley Hill.
The first phase, from Wednesbury to Dudley town centre, is scheduled to open next year.
Councillor Peter Hughes, Sandwell council’s cabinet member for regeneration, added: “These improvements will really make a difference at Dudley Port, which is a key gateway to and from Sandwell. Not only will these changes make the station more welcoming for people, but they will also provide much better links for bus, cycling and walking in the local area and boost wider regeneration opportunities.”