28th February 2019
Plans have been unveiled this morning for two new passenger rail stations on the Walsall to Wolverhampton rail line at Darlaston and Willenhall. The original stations were closed in 1965.
Transport chiefs now want to hear the views of local residents through a consultation that starts on 4th March and at six drop-in sessions that will take place over the next four weeks. The stations will give the people of Darlaston and Willenhall vastly-improved access to jobs and opportunities in the centres of Wolverhampton, Walsall and Birmingham.
Willenhall Station will be sited next to the Bilston Street railway bridge close to the town centre, while Darlaston Station will be built on derelict land next to the Kendricks Road bridge. Both stations will include the following facilities:
- Two platforms to accommodate six carriage trains
- Pedestrian footbridge, stairs and lifts for access between platforms
- Ticket machines and customer information systems
- Station designs incorporate passenger help-points to improve safety
- Pick-up/drop-off areas and secure cycle storage
- Long-stay car parks, with 300 spaces provided at Darlaston and 150 spaces at Willenhall
The plans have been drawn up by the West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and the majority of funding for both projects will come from the region's HS2 Connectivity Fund. It is anticipated there will initially be an hourly service between Wolverhampton and Walsall stations and an hourly service between Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said:
"The publication of these plans is the next major step towards bringing passenger rail services back to the Wolverhampton to Walsall line. The opening of these stations is just one part of our plans to regenerate and revitalise this part of the Black Country. They will help unlock swathes of land for industrial, commercial and housing development between Wolverhampton and Walsall."
Cllr John Reynolds, City of Wolverhampton Council cabinet member for city economy, said:
"The reopening of this rail line will be good for Wolverhampton business and offer people easier and faster services to Walsall and beyond. It will also encourage regeneration and the opportunity to develop new housing and industry along the rail corridor."
Cllr Adrian Andrew, deputy leader of Walsall Council, said:
"This is fantastic news for the people of Darlaston and Willenhall who have been waiting to see passenger services restored. Alongside the new station will be a 300-space long-stay car park which can play a major part in tackling the congestion on our streets and keeping the region moving."
Richard Brooks, customer experience director for West Midlands Railway, said:
"The reopening of these two stations will benefit many people in surrounding communities. We welcome to work of West Midlands Rail Executive and other partners to bring these stations to life, and encourage local residents to engage with the consultation on the new station plans. With our £1bn worth of investment into our network over the coming years, including new trains and increased capacity on routes across the West Midlands."
The drop-in events are as follows:
- Monday 18th March 2019 11am-6pm Saddlers Shopping Centre, WS2 9NW
- Tuesday 19th March 2019 1pm-8.30pm CHART Building, WV13 2NS
- Wednesday 20th March 2019 11am-4pm New Art Gallery, WS2 8LG
- Thursday 21st March 2019 2pm-5.45pm Willenhall Library, WV13 2EX
- Monday 25th March 9am-3.30pm Moxley People’s Centre, WS10 8TA
- Tuesday 26th March 2019 1pm-7pm Darlaston Town Hall, WS10 8AA
Author: Darren Porter
Image: West Midlands Railway