More cash to fund study into re-opening Aldridge Station
Extra cash to fund an investigation into the work needed to re-open Aldridge train station has been approved by business leaders.
Originally, £120,000 was given to Walsall Council to investigate what work would be needed to carry out repair works at Mill Lane Bridge and Aldridge aqueduct, on the Sutton Park line. A further £70,000 was requested due to the complex nature of the work.
The money, granted by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership(LEP), will fund studies by Network Rail into the possibility of re-opening the station. The two sites are crucial to the project and more specialised investigations than initially anticipated need to be carried out, said the rail operator.
The station, which was based in Station Road, opened in 1879 and served the 13-mile Sutton Park line from Walsall to Sutton Coldfield, providing links to Wolverhampton and Birmingham.
But it shut in 1965 when the line between Wolverhampton and Walsall was closed to passengers, a victim of the Government's railway purge. Currently passengers looking to get from Wolverhampton to Walsall or vice versa on the train need to go through Birmingham.
The line remains open for freight purposes but bosses are hoping that once the repair work is carried out, the possibility of public trains coming and going from the station in the future will be improved and lead to better access to jobs.
The proposal was revitalised two years ago following the announcement of the Midlands Growth Strategy. Last year the Black Country LEP gave £3million to the scheme.
The site is now overgrown with little evidence of the station.
A report to the LEP meeting described the bridge and aqueduct as the 'most challenging structures' that require reconstruction on the route. It added the studies would 'significantly advance' the business case for the electrification of the Walsall to Aldridge section of the line, the re-instatement of a half-hourly passenger service, as well as the creation of a new rail station in Aldridge town centre.
The rail service would ultimately connect Aldridge with Walsall town centre, Birmingham city centre and the proposed HS2 stations.