Express & Star

Badgers blamed for huge delay in building Birmingham railway stations

A colony of badgers has been blamed for a major delay in opening a new Birmingham train line.


West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has addressed disappointed locals about the situation.

On Tuesday, it was announced the opening of three new stations in Moseley, Kings Heath, and Stirchley would be put back a year until the end of 2024.

Contractors have discovered an unstable wall, a historic well and a colony of badgers while working on the three sites, leading to disruption.

The news broke shortly before Mr Street’s appearance at Tuesday’s meeting of the Moseley Forum, a monthly community discussion group.

An artist\'s impression of the new Moseley Village Station. Credit: WMCA.

Mr Street insisted he had planned the announcement to coincide with the meeting, adding: “I have to be very honest […] it is going to be later than we hoped.”

He added: “The most important news is despite all the challenges that we have, whether it be badgers, historic wells, historic walls, rising construction costs, you name it, we are pressing firmly on and everyone is utterly committed to doing this.

“The cash is there for it, all the planning consents are there, the contractor is working very hard and most importantly, both Network Rail and the rail operators are determined that the timetable paths are already there, trains are ready.

“So we will do this.”

The mayor confirmed the new deadline for completion is the end of 2024 but with 25 months of constriction to go the exact date is yet to be announced.

He continued: “So yeah, it’s a little frustrating that we have to announce a little bit late but the obvious big point is after 82 years of no service we are now within touching distance of that service reopening and anyone watching the telly tonight will see the platforms on Pineapple Road are built.

“We’re a little further behind here in Moseley than Pineapple Road, and Kings Heath is actually about the same as Pineapple.

“But the reason we’re behind here is the badger issue.

“And anyone will know that there are only certain times of year that they can be moved on, then actually we hope we can make really quick progress once that is done.

“And obviously the contractor has got well on their way with the other two stations and should be able to bring this one to catch up.”

The wall, which borders a locally listed building at Pineapple Road, needs to be rebuilt brick by brick and the Victorian well in Kings Heath has required a redesign of the area.

Badgers have been a protected species since 1992 and there are strict rules about when and how their dens can be removed.