In Pictures: Wolverhampton Railway Station extension opens

Its taken its time but the West Midlands Metro is now running public services to Wolverhampton Railway Station following the opening of the much delayed extension on Sunday 17th September – with things finally happening as planned on the day with no major issues causing problems!

The short extension – its less than half a mile long (0.43 miles to be precise of 0.7km if you prefer) – leaves the original West Midlands Metro line just before the St George’s terminus (which is currently closed whilst more works take place) and then travels along Piper’s Row and Railway Drive before terminating just beyond the main entrance to Wolverhampton Railway Station. As well as the stop at the Railway Station there is also one on Piper’s Row adjacent to Wolverhampton Bus Station. There are overhead wires until the intermediate stop with the rest being without wires.

It had been the original plan that services to Wolverhampton Railway Station would commence in 2020 but many things have got in the way which have seen delays in its completion. These have included the pandemic, war in Ukraine and supply chain problems to name but three. Every time it seemed that we were getting closer to it opening then something seemed to set it back but it will not be set back any more as trams are now running seven days a week onto the extension.

For now all services will only go to the Railway Station but it is planned that later this autumn services will alternate between Wolverhampton Railway Station and Wolverhampton St George’s. Each terminus will be served every 15 minutes meaning that the bulk of the system will see a much improved frequency of every 7-8 minutes. But for now the timetable introduced from 17th September sees trams every 10 minutes Monday-Saturday and every 15 minutes on a Sunday (early morning and late evening sees lower frequencies). The end to end journey time is 57 minutes.

Services started on Sunday 17th September with Urbos3 31 doing the honours of the very first public working. 31 is of course named Cyrille Regis MBE who once played football for Wolverhampton Wanderers, as one of contributors notes it would have been good if this was a deliberate act! Other trams out on the first day included 30, 37, 43, 44, 45, 51 and 53.

Some 30 minutes before the first tram would depart we see the platform information screens telling us that trams are running to “Wolv’hampton Train”. Unfortunately the full length of the destination can’t be shown because its too long – when St George’s is open again it will be interesting to see how they show the difference between the two!

Before public services began, 40 was sent onto the extension as a final test run. (Photographs x2 by Andy Walters, 17th September 2023)

31 comes off the “main line” at Wolverhampton and crosses the road before entering Piper’s Row with the first service down to the Railway Station. (Photograph by Anthony Nicholls, 17th September 2023)

The crew of the first tram pose alongside having arrived at Wolverhampton Railway Station. (Photograph by Michael Morton, 17th September 2023)

30 – which retains white panels from where its body panels repairs took place – comes round the entrance to Wolverhampton Railway Station on the final approach to the terminus.

The new map at Wolverhampton Railway Station showing the newly opened stops. (Photographs x2 by Dan Noon, 17th September 2023)

53 is seen here approaching the station.

Passengers wait at Piper’s Row for 37 to arrive with a service heading back to Edgbaston Village. (Photographs x2 by Ken Jones, 17th September 2023)

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8 Responses to In Pictures: Wolverhampton Railway Station extension opens

  1. Andy walters says:

    Signal failure yesterday , morning,chaos!

    And this morning same again
    We are now back to working only from Edgbaston to The Royal !
    Gives use confidence for future projects

  2. Paul Stewart says:

    Thanks. Sorry to be pedantic but Pipers Row does not have an apostrophe (per diagram on the tram as photographed above, the timetables, West Midlands Metro website and the new sign at the stop itself), although St George’s does. West Midlands Metro have also sent out an email saying that trams would serve both termini ‘in a few weeks’- a bit like Inverness to Wick trains serve Thurso these days. A new tram signal has been installed (but needs to be commissioned) at the junction to allow trams to reverse to do this. However, this would appear, from the track layout, to require some ‘wrong line running’ so it will be interesting to see what actually happens. Also worth mentioning that the extension coast £50M against a budget of £18M!!

  3. David says:

    There is something very sad about the way we build transport infrastructure. Were those few metres of track really worth 50 million? I would feel cheated if they built a bus stop shelter as paltry as that one near my home. I find myself saying “why did they bother to do it at all”

  4. ken Jones says:

    I always thought the plan was to run alternate trams to Wolverhampton St George’s and Wolverhampton Station, not trams to serve both as suggested by Paul, otherwise they would have built a triangle not just a crossing into Pipers Row. He could be right but who actually knows. It’s a bit like that idea to extend St George’s line further into the city in a loop – which never materialised.

  5. Ian says:

    Trams serving both termini does not necessarily mean that all trams will serve both termini. Far more likely it means that some trams will go to the Station and other trams will go to St George’s.

    • Steve GM says:

      I think better scrap the St George’s unless they extending the loop, otherwise can’t see reopening or used much like the station line

  6. Ian says:

    In West Midlands today. The Platform next tram Indicators now say W’ton Station matching the tram destination display

    I was surprised that the traffic lights between The Royal and Pipers Row are not co-ordinated in favour of the tram. We lost two minutes stopping at them all

    With St George’s not currently served the WM Metro is not serving either of the original termini, unique among modern British Isles tramways.

  7. Andy walters says:

    18.00 today from WMM

    Due to a signal failure by Pipers Row, trams are unable to stop between Wolverhampton Station and The Royal.

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