Express & Star

Ground conditions still a 'significant risk' to new £55m rail stations - bosses

Ground conditions remain a "significant risk" to the £55 million development of two new railway stations in the Black Country, transport chiefs have warned.

An artist's impression of what the new Darlaston Railway Station will look like. Photo: West Midlands Rail Executive

Reports to council chiefs highlight complex issues for the Willenhall and Darlaston stations – due to open next year – due to the area's long industrial history.

The main activity required is "grouting" – a process in which historic mine workings are filled with material to stabilise the ground – to make the station safe.

Work had been carried out under the new platforms, but a reassessment by Network Rail exposed a "significant increase in scope and risk" in the two areas.

A report, set to be scrutinised by councillors in Walsall next week, said: "Ground conditions remain a significant risk to the project. This area of the Black Country was historically highly industrialised with activities including coal mining and manufacturing.

"This means ground conditions are challenging because of contamination from industry, and the need to remediate mine workings to address the risk of subsidence and collapse. Although complex, this is critical to ensure that the stations can operate safely in the long term.

"The scope had originally been contained to the areas under the new platforms, however reassessment by Network Rail has led to a significant increase in scope and risk Now it has been established that we need to grout under the tracks as well as the platforms, and treat deeper mine seams."

Bosses said the new station in Rose Hill, Willenhall, is anticipated to open in the first part of next year, while work on the Darlaston station in Cemetery Road will be finished a short time after.