The Anonymous Widower

The Midland Metro Is Set For Expansion

This article in Rail News is entitled .Major Midland Metro expansion plans unveiled. It lays out how after a devolution deal for the West Midlands there is going to be new lines on the Midland Metro. The article says this.

A new ‘HS2 connectivity package’ will include new tram lines from the HS2 station at Birmingham Curzon Street to Birmingham Airport via Bordesley Green and Chelmsley Wood, and between Wednesbury and Brierley Hill — a destination which was an aspiration of local Metro planners even before the first section opened in 1999 between Snow Hill and Wolverhampton St George’s.

It is certainly a substantial expansion.

Birmingham Curzon Street to Birmingham Airport

The history of the proposed Line Two linking to Birmingham Curzon Street station for HS2 and Birmingham Airport, is given in Line Two East Side Extension of the Wikipedia entry for the Midland Metro.

There would appear to be no mention of Bordesley Green and Chelmsley Wood, so I would assume that the route has been changed.

Wikipedia also mentions serving Coventry station, but the Rail News article doesn’t. I suspect that as Coventry is part of the devolution plans, that Line Two will go to the city!

Wednesbury To Brierley Hill

This proposal for this line, which links both Birmingham and Wolverhampton to the Merry Hill Shopping Centre, is better developed and some details are given in this section of the Wikipedia entry for the Midland Metro.

The proposal utilises the disused South Staffordshire Line, which to complicate matters Network Rail want to open for freight.

In January I published Will Dudley Get A National Very Light Rail Innovation Centre?, which also throws some extra factors into the knitting.

In the Midland Metro entry for this line, this is said.

Centro has stated that the WBHE would provide 10 trams per hour, alternately serving Wolverhampton and Birmingham. Journey time from Brierley Hill to West Bromwich was stated as 31 minutes.

So if it is intended that this line runs trams to both Birmingham and Wolverhampton and it will also carry freight, then it seems to me, that by using something like Class 399 tram-trains, you can be all things to all stakeholders.

If you look at the South Staffordshire Line north of the proposed junction with the Midland Metro, it is a mass of working and disused railway lines, that ultimately terminate on the West Coast Main Line at Lichfield Trent Valley station.

Given that the article in Rail News talks of improvements to the West Coast Main Line, I can’t believe that in the future the South Staffordshire Line is not developed as a cross city line from Lichfield to Stourbridge.

Conclusion

The West Midlands is going to see a lot of rail and tram development in the next few years.

Councillor David Lawrence, who chair of the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority,  is quoted as saying this about the schemes.

The agreement will see Whitehall make an annual contribution of £40 million for 30 years to support investment worth £8 billion, which it claimed will support the creation of more than half a million jobs.

Will the Brummies go for it?

 

November 20, 2015 - Posted by | Transport | , ,

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