In recent years all talk of extensions to Midland Metro has been concentrated on the southern section in Birmingham but all that is set to change with government approval now given for extending the line to Wolverhampton Railway Station. Preparatory work is due to start later this year with the first passengers set to be carried in 2019.
The route of the Midland Metro route will see trams leave the current line before it reaches the St George’s terminus running along Piper’s Row before heading past the bus station and then onto the railway station. The extension is set to cost £18 million and will be part of a wider £120 million redevelopment of the city centre. This will include a major redevelopment of the railway station.
Cllr Roger Lawrence, leader of City of Wolverhampton Council and West Midlands lead on transport, said: “Today’s approval is excellent news because the extension can play a key role in unlocking further investment and jobs – not just in Wolverhampton but also other parts of the Black Country. If we are to succeed in revitalising our city then we must have the right transport infrastructure in place to open up new areas for redevelopment and underpin our long term ambitions.”
Following a six week legal challenge period the Transport and Works Act Order will come into force and allow work to start on advanced utility diversions. Works will also be started on the Pipers Row car park that will create the space needed to divert the underground pipes and cables on the route of the tramway.
The work will be led by the newly created Transport for West Midlands, the transport arm of the West Midlands Combined Authority. This has replaced the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority and Centro in the area following a devolution deal with the government.
Although it is early days when the line to the railway station opens there will be a change in service patterns with reduced services running to the current St George’s terminus and the majority of trams running on the extension. Exact details of the service will of course follow closer to the opening.