Major expansion of Wednesbury Depot officially launched

The expansion of West Midlands Metro’s Wednesbury Depot is now officially underway to allow it to fully house the complete fleet of CAF Urbos3 and Urbos 100 trams. Costing £43 million, the project was officially launched during a visit by local politicians and transport leaders in January 2023.

The work will see on-site capacity more than doubled to accommodate the ever growing fleet of trams. So far 11 Urbos 100 trams have been delivered to the depot from Spain with at least another 10 to come (all due to be delivered in 2023) and an option for further CAF built vehicles to help cater for the ever increasing network.

As well as providing extra stabling and shunting capacity there will also be extended and updated workshop and maintenance facilities, a tram wash, a new operations centre and staff facilities. Around 150 jobs are to be created by the expanded network and depot.

Andy Street, Mayor of West Midlands and Chair of West Midlands Combined Authority, said: “We need more room to accommodate even more trams so this depot extension is very welcome news. Construction crews are hard at work right across our region expanding our Metro network in Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Sandwell and Dudley and this depot extension helps us to meet the consequent uptick in demand that will result from the new extended network. Once complete, even more local residents and businesses – especially those in Dudley – will be able to benefit from a rapid, convenient and affordable alternative to the car for their journeys around the West Midlands.”

The development of the depot is being led by Transport for West Midlands with construction being carried out by the Midland Metro Alliance. Funding comes from the City Region Sustainable Funding Settlement.

Work already underway includes space being cleared to expand the yard and track and to provide a direct track link to the Dudley extension. Alongside the depot work is well advanced on the construction of the junction which will eventually link the existing line between Birmingham and Wolverhampton to the new line, including a new incline.

Cllr Peter Hughes, representative for Wednesbury North and cabinet member for regeneration and growth with Sandwell Council, said: “The current and future development of the West Midlands Metro network is playing an integral role to the regeneration of Sandwell, and its six towns, providing increased access for workers, shoppers and visitors to the region. With Wednesbury as the major hub to this network, it is pleasing to see the significant investment in the Metro Depot, and I am particularly pleased that the investment will create new employment opportunities. The first phase of the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill line is now taking shape, with both the Wolverhampton and Birmingham extensions coming to fruition, and providing more opportunities for people to leave their car at home and help reduce carbon emissions.”

Cllr Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said: “The expansion of the depot will allow us to store a bigger fleet of trams, and in turn offer more frequent services coming in and out of Dudley and Brierley Hill when the extension is completed. It will allow borough residents to easily get to Birmingham, Sandwell and Wolverhampton. Equally importantly, it will make it much more easier for people from outside the borough to get to us and to see what we have to offer, with the economic benefits that will bring. I have always said it – the Metro extension is a real game changer for our borough. It will create more opportunities for people in terms of jobs, training and connectivity and today marks another important step in the right direction for the project.”

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