Metro to play key role in West Midlands major investment for a green transport revolution

Could we be seeing even more extensions to the West Midlands Metro network? With work underway on both the Birmingham Eastside and Wednesbury-Dudley-Brierley Hill lines, plans by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) could see even more built as part of the major investment in a green transport revolution for the region.

TfWM are currently investing £6.1 billion on Metro, bus, rail, cycling and walking networks to provide better work and leisure opportunities for people in the area and they’re not planning on stopping there! Plans have been confirmed for the next five rapid transit routes (although no guarantees on whether these may be Metro or Sprint rapid bus services) as the investment secured by WMCA since it was set-up continues to be put into action.

Since 2017, £3.5 billion has been invested to boost the transport network with lots of both small and large scale projects. This has included four Metro extensions and six new railway stations in Birmingham and the Black Country, a major Sprint rapid bus route stretching from Walsall to Solihull, a fleet of over 300 zero-emission electric vehicles in Coventry and a cycle hire scheme across eight town and city centres. In addition there has been the development of contactless fare capping across modes to guarantee passengers the best value fare and make a truly integrated transport system in the region.

WMCA have now secured a further £2.6 billion (bringing total investment to £6.1 billion) to be spent until 2032 and plans for what this could be spent on have been announced:

  • Rapid transit routes along Hagley Road in Birmingham and on through Sandwell to Dudley and further extending the line from Digbeth (Birmingham Eastside Metro extension) through East Birmingham and North Solihull. Detailed business cases are being prepared with a hoped for start date in construction of 2028.
  • Extending the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill route into Walsall at one end and Stourbridge at the other.
  • Rapid transit route on the A38 between Birmingham and Longbridge.
  • Longer term development of a link from Wolverhampton City Centre to New Cross Hospital is subject to a feasibility study.

Andy Street, Mayor of West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “It’s no secret that our transport infrastructure was woefully underfunded for decades. But since the formation of the WMCA and with the region pulling in the same direction, we have started to redress that underinvestment and increased our funding more than tenfold to deliver a green transport revolution. We are already seeing unprecedented investment with construction well underway on the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill and Birmingham Eastside Metro extensions, six new railway stations and our Sprint bus route. By building a ‘turn up and go’ network we can make the most impact in persuading people to leave their cars at home and avoid busy, congested roads. And, with at least £2.6 billion more to invest over the next few years, we are now turning our attention to what comes next, such as taking Metro further along Hagley Road and extending the tram route from Digbeth through East Birmingham and North Solihull. Alongside this we have identified a priority list of further routes so that as we pull in still more funding we have projects ready to go. This approach means we can grow our network in a clear and coordinated way to deliver the most benefit for our travelling public.”

And on top of that the opportunities which may be offered by Very Light Rail technology – which is being developed in the region – are part of TfWM’s plans. The demonstrator track in Coventry City Centre is planned to be constructed later this year as the first step towards the technology being adopted elsewhere.

With all these plans public transport in the West Midlands over the next decade could look very different to what we see today.

One of the projects mentioned as being key to the “transport revolution” is the redevelopment of Dudley Bus Station. This will be served by trams as part of the latest Metro extension. This is the scene on 16th March 2024. (Photograph by Mark Cufflin)

This entry was posted in West Midlands Metro. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Metro to play key role in West Midlands major investment for a green transport revolution

  1. Ginger Doctor says:

    I think the Walsall is plausible as most of its on the discord section of the old south staffs line.

Comments are closed.