Willenhall set for railway station for first time in more than 50 years

Work has started on a new railway station that will pave the way for the long-awaited return of passenger services on the Wolverhampton to Walsall line.

Mayor Andy Street and Eddie Hughes MP join rail bosses to look over preparations for the new Willenhall Station
Mayor Andy Street and Eddie Hughes MP join rail bosses to look over preparations for the new Willenhall Station

As part of a £54 million project Willenhall station is being built on waste ground off Bilston Street, where workers are currently clearing rubble.

The scheme will also see a new station built at James Bridge, Darlaston, ahead of the reopening of the line to passenger services for the first time since 2008.

The original stations in both towns closed 56 years ago during the Beeching cuts.

Bosses say the opening of Willenhall station will enable passengers to travel to either Walsall or Wolverhampton in eight minutes and Birmingham New Street in 25 minutes.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and Walsall North MP Eddie Hughes met with rail bosses at the site to look at the work.

Mr Street said: "It has been a long time coming, but it really is fantastic news that the diggers are on site and our plans to bring Willenhall station back to life are becoming a reality.

“People in Walsall have waited decades to see this station return, and with Darlaston to follow shortly afterwards as part of the re-opened Walsall to Wolverhampton line, this really is an absolute game-changer for the Black Country.

“Not only do these stations give people a genuine public transport alternative to the car, but it also helps connect them to the high quality jobs and opportunities spread across the wider region.”

Mr Hughes said: "It is great to see diggers arrive to start clearing the site for the new train station in Willenhall.

"This station will help to connect local residents to jobs, training and education opportunities across the region. It is levelling up in action."

Councillor Adrian Andrew, deputy leader of Walsall Council, said the new stations could be the "catalyst for further investment and improvements".

"This has been talked about for decades, so it is great to see some action on site - we are now entering the final stages of restoring rail service to Willenhall," he added.

The stations will see two trains per hour made up of an hourly service from Birmingham New Street to Crewe, calling at Wolverhampton, and an hourly shuttle between Walsall and Wolverhampton.

The original Willenhall and Darlaston stations closed in 1965, the same year passenger services were halted on the Wolverhampton to Walsall line.

The line reopened to passengers in 1998 before closing again in 2008. It is now mainly used for freight.

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