Plans are proceeding for the reopening of the line between Walsall and Wolverhampton, last used for passenger services in 2008 but kept open since then for freight.
New stations will be opened at Willenhall and Darlaston – both of which were closed in 1965.
There will be two trains an hour calling at the new stations when the Walsall to Wolverhampton line reopens to passenger services in 2022. These will be:
- An hourly service between Walsall and Wolverhampton;
- An hourly service between Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton, via Tame Bridge, Darlaston and Willenhall, created by diverting an existing Crewe to Birmingham service.
The new rail service will offer the people of Darlaston and Willenhall a 54-minute time saving on bus journeys into Birmingham city centre and a significant 15-minute saving on travelling by car.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “It is fantastic that agreement on services has been reached with Network Rail, which shows we are making great progress on plans to get these rail stations built and the line open.
“The Walsall to Wolverhampton rail corridor is an important part of our plans to regenerate and revitalise this area of the Black Country – acting as a catalyst to unlock swathes of land for industrial, commercial and housing development.
“Investment in transport is now even more important to our economy as we aim to bounce back from the pandemic.”
Dave Penney, Network Rail’s Central route director, added: “It’s exciting to be able to re-establish rail links for passengers in Willenhall and Darlaston and we have worked hard with our partners to help make it possible.
“Opening up the railway to these Black Country communities will be a key driver to the long-term regeneration of the wider region.”
Planning applications for the new stations were submitted to Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council in February. It is proposed that 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.
Construction of the new stations is due to commence early next year, with the aim to have them open by the end of 2022.
The project is being led by the West Midlands Rail Executive and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority, working in close collaboration with the Department for Transport, Network Rail, West Midlands Railway, Walsall Council and Wolverhampton Council.