Centro have unveiled their latest plan to extend Midland Metro into Wolverhampton city centre with the public and business community being given the opportunity to give their views on the £15 million proposals. The extension would see trams run along Piper’s Row and service the bus station before terminating at the railway station.
The plans have been drawn up by Centro in partnership with Wolverhampton City Council and Neptune Developments and would not only improve passenger connections between bus, train and tram services but would also support the proposed redevelopment of land next to the railway station which is expected to see £100 million of investment and 1400 new jobs.
Cllr Roger Horton, Centro’s Lead Member for Transforming Rail Travel, said: “These are significant plans that can play a key role in supporting the regeneration of the city centre while bringing new jobs and growth to the wider Black Country economy. It will also provide a more effective interchange for passengers moving between tram, bus and train, helping to connect people to job, education, health and leisure opportunities. That’s why we want to hear the views of passengers and businesses. Their opinions are important to us and I would urge people to take part in the consultation.”
The extension would leave the current Metro line shortly before the current terminus at St George’s and travel along Piper’s Row to the railway station where it would terminate. There would be two new stops constructed – one would be at the bus station and the other would be the new terminus at the railway station. Unfortunately the current layout and land available for the tram means it would not be possible for the tram to service both Piper’s Row and St George’s but it is proposed that the current line into St George’s would be retained to serve the main shopping district. A split service would be operated which although the majority of trams would run to the railway station would also see some trams terminating at St George’s. As part of the consultation Centro are eager to hear from people as to what times of the day the tram should serve St George’s rather than the new route.
A public consultation has now been launched on the plans and will run through until the end of May. This will include a number of public exhibitions across Wolverhampton with Centro staff on hand to answer queries. People can comment about the plans on the website at www.centro.org.uk/metro or by sending an email to email@example.com, phoning the Centro Customer Contact centre on 0121 214 7214 or by writing to Metro Consultation, Centro 16, Summer Lane, Birmingham, B19 3SD.
Centro hopes to be in a position to submit an application to the Government for a Transport and Works Act Order by the end of the year. This would grant the legal powers needed to build and operate the extension. If granted – and subject to funding – construction could commence before the end of 2015 and take approximately two years to complete.