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Map shows route of new £15m Midland Metro line

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

This map shows the direction trams will take as they go past Wolverhampton's bus station as part of a £15 million extension.

The alterations, expected to take place from some time in 2015, will mean fewer Midland Metro services visiting the current St George's terminus in Bilston Street.

New tracks will be laid at the junction of Bilston Street and Piper's Row, close to Wolverhampton Crown Court, but will not be able to let trams go from St George's to the bus station.

Instead, passengers who are travelling to the city centre on the 23- stop route will have to check before they get on whether the tram is going to the bus and rail stations or whether it will go to St George's.

As part of a consultation, Midland Metro passengers are being asked at what times of the day the trams should call at St George's.

Two new stops will be provided by the bus and rail stations as part of the project.

Trams will travel around a third of a mile from Bilston Street down Piper's Row and over the bridge in Railway Drive. Pedestrians will be unable to use Railway Drive and will instead have to use the £1.4m foot bridge which was installed two years ago.

Funding for the project has not yet been secured but if the Government agrees to the scheme then it will mean two years of roadworks in the city centre. There are further plans to eventually loop the Metro line around the city centre, which would bring the total cost to £30m.

In a leaflet issued as part of the consultation, the transport authority Centro said: "The proposal is to maintain the St George's stop. Most trams would travel along Piper's Row to the rail station. However, to improve flexibility at certain times of the day, the trams could use the St George's stop.

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"The current layout and land available for the tram means that it would not be possible for the tram to serve both Piper's Row and St George's stops on the same journey."

The tram would run every six minutes and Centro says the scheme will support the planned redevelopment of land next to the rail station which has been earmarked for millions of pounds worth of investment.

Bosses say the project would open up areas for regeneration and serve as a platform for future tram routes to New Cross Hospital and the Wednesfield area.

It would also provide better Metro links to the wider West Midlands, including a route to the proposed high speed rail station and the Broad Street area of Birmingham.

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In Birmingham, work is currently being carried out on the extension of the Metro line, with Corporation Street's 10 bus stops being relocated.

Transport Minister Norman Baker broke ground at the junction of Corporation Street and Bull Street in June last year as the task got underway of moving the water pipes and power cables under the streets.

Trams will follow a route from the existing Metro terminus at Snow Hill, along a £9m viaduct already built by developer Ballymore, down Upper Bull Street and Corporation Street and on to Stephenson Street. It is due to open in 2015 coinciding with the completion of the £600m Gateway rebuild of New Street Station with trams stopping outside the station's new entrance in Stephenson Street.

A new fleet of trams arrives next year as part of a £128 million extension programme linking the other terminus at Birmingham Snow Hill with New Street station.

The Metro line between Wolverhampton and Birmingham Snow Hill closed for more than two weeks in April so engineers could modify platforms ahead of the launch of the new £40m fleet of bigger trams next year. The new 20-strong Spanish-built fleet will start to go into service on the route in 2014 and allow for 10 services an hour.

Centro chairman Councillor John McNicholas said: "These are important plans for Wolverhampton and we are keen to hear from as many people and businesses as possible. I would urge people to have their say."

The public consultation period runs until May 31.

People can comment about the plans at www.centro.org.uk/metro or by sending an email to metro@centro.org.uk, phoning Centro Customer Contact on 0121 214 7214 or writing to Metro Consultation, Centro, 16, Summer Lane, Birmingham B19 3SD.

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