The business case for the extension of Midland Metro to Brierley Hill has been formally presented to the Department for Transport as plans for the line continue to progress.
The Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, and Laura Shoaf, Managing Director of Transport for West Midlands, presented the plans to Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport. The line will be a seven mile extension leaving the current Midland Metro line at Wednesbury.
The line will run through Great Bridge, Horseley Heath, Dudley Port, Dudley Town Centre, the Waterfront and Merry Hill before terminating at Brierley Hill. This is part of a long term ambition to link the Black Country to the HS2 network with Dudley Town Centre being only 40 minutes to the HS2 terminal at Curzon Street.
It is planned that there will be 17 new stops constructed (of which four are provisional) at Golds Hill, Great Bridge, Horseley Road, Dudley Port, Sedgley Road, Birmingham New Road, Tipton Road, Station Road, Dudley Town Centre, Flood Street, New Road, Cinder Bank, Pedmore Road, Canal Street, Waterfront, Merry Hill Centre and Brierley Road. Of these stops Station Road will provide a connection to the Black Country Living Museum, meaning you can catch the tram to get the tram!
Andy Street said: “I said in my manifesto that starting work on this project during my first three years in office was a priority and securing the funding is the first step, which is why I wanted to see the Secretary of State so quickly. The leaders of the local authorities within the West Midlands Combined Authority have done a first class job in developing the plans to this stage. Now we need to secure the final funding. It is hard to understate just how important this project is to the Black Country. The business case shows that for every pound invested in this project, it will return £2.50 for the local economy. It will align employment, education, health and tourism along the corridor, stimulating investment in the Black Country and enabling the building of 50,000 homes and bringing 170 hectares of brownfield land. It will also be important for passengers. It will more than halve journey times from some of the stops along the route into central Birmingham. This is the start of the conversation about how as a region we can look at new ways of working with Government to use new mechanisms of funding and finance to deliver transformational projects like this.”
All being well it is hoped that the line will be opened in 2023.