Proposals to build a new station at Aldridge, on the Wolverhampton to Walsall line in the West Midlands, have moved forward after the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) agreed a £400,000 investment to buy the land needed to build it.
The project received a green light after a feasibility study in 2019 confirmed that proposals to open a new railway station at Aldridge, replacing one that closed in 1965 under the ‘Beeching cuts’, were viable.
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) wants trains to serve Aldridge as part of a wider upgrade of rail services in the Black Country, which is already set to get new stations at Darlaston and Willenhall. Two trains an hour could run from the new station to Birmingham New Street and Walsall, with an estimated 500,000 passengers using the service annually.
Acquisition of a piece of NHS-owned land, next to the Anchor Meadow Health Centre off Westfield Drive, is key to making the project feasible. The £400,000 funding deal means the purchase of the site can now go ahead “within weeks”.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, who has asked the West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) to draw up a business case for the station, said: “Securing this land means we can press ahead with our plans to give Aldridge its own station for the first time in more than half a century.
“Alongside Aldridge, we have Darlaston and Willenhall, which will be the first new stations to be built as the Walsall to Wolverhampton line re-opens to passengers, and we are also exploring the prospect of having a new station at Tettenhall. All of these and more form part of our transport plan for the region, which is so desperately needed after decades of underinvestment in public transport.
“Alongside new and expanded Metro lines and Very Light Rail in Coventry, both of which are at the heart of our transport plan, new and re-opened stations provide better transport links as well as helping to drive economic growth. This will be crucial as we look to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and recapture the region’s previous economic momentum.”
Planning work is already well advanced on Darlaston and Willenhall, as well as new stations at Kings Heath, Moseley, and Hazelwell on the Camp Hill line in south Birmingham. All five of these new stations are expected to be open to passengers by 2023.