In Pictures: Track starts to go down in Dudley

We only reported at the end of January that the first track had been delivered to Dudley in readiness for installation on Castle Hill and now less than halfway through February and the first sections are down! This is the first signs of progress that yes trams are returning to Dudley with all previous work on the Brierley Hill extension having really been preparation for this sort of work to take place.

The 11km extension from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill is due to open in 2023 with at least 16 new stops added to the network plus potentially two others. It will mainly be running on an old railway alignment although there are sections of street running as seen in this first tracklaying. The route to Brierley Hill leaves the current line just east of Wednesbury Great Western Street and then goes via Tipton and Dudley before reaching its new terminus at Merry Hill. As well as giving good access for locals from these areas to Birmingham it will also enable tourists to visit several visitor attractions such as the Black Country Living Museum, Dudley Zoo and Dudley Castle thus helping to boost the Black County’s economy.

The utility works on Castle Hill were completed earlier this year and it was previously announced that work has started on the removal of the road surface to allow the trackbed to be formed and track to be laid. Diversionary routes for traffic are in place.

Behind the barriers on Castle Hill is where it is all happening! This view is looking towards Dudley Zoo and shows some of the extent of work here.

And behind the barriers this is the excitement! Sleepers have been out down in the foreground but a little further on we can see some track is laid on top.

And that’s what we see here as we continue our way along Castle Hill towards the entrance to Dudley Zoo.

Directly outside the Zoo entrance.

Beyond the Zoo and work is at an earlier stage with the trackbed still under preparation.

Outside Dudley Hippodrome (which itself is threatened with demolition) looking back towards Dudley Zoo. The trackbed is being prepared here for the laying of track. (All Photographs by Andy Walters, 6th February 2022)

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