For the first time in 50 years, plans to reopen a railway station in Darlaston is 'full steam ahead'.
After my years of campaigning, Walsall Council’s planning committee has given the green light to an application by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) for the new station, along with another at Willenhall.
Darlaston’s new station will be constructed on the old A B Waste Management site in Cemetery Road and will include two platforms, a footbridge, steps and a 300-space car park.
Restoring passenger services to the Walsall to Wolverhampton railway line is a critical part of our transport strategy for the West Midlands, and we have taken another step towards achieving that vision by securing planning approval for these new stations at Darlaston and Willenhall.
We are now looking to get work underway as soon as possible, and our search for a construction contractor has already begun.
People have been waiting a long time to see services restored, and these better connections will be a catalyst for regeneration in this part of the Black Country.
As well as unlocking land for industrial and housing development and improving transport links across the region, the construction of the two stations will provide work for local people at this difficult time, helping to protect and create new jobs in the West Midlands.
Darlaston’s original station opened in 1837 but was closed in 1965, under the nation-wide ‘Beeching’ cuts. Passenger services returned in 1998 but stopped again a decade later due to lack of use.
Walsall Council leader Mike Bird said: “It is a huge investment here by both the combined authority and the Government in Walsall – money allocated to actually bring back into the life the railway system that was unfortunately shelved back in the 1960s.
“It is a great time for Walsall, this is probably one of the biggest regeneration schemes we’ve seen to make people able to connect to the wider region.”
Under current plans, two new hourly services would call at the stations once they have been opened
One will be a direct Walsall to Wolverhampton route while the other will be a Wolverhampton to Birmingham service, calling at the existing Tame Bridge Parkway station as well as Darlaston and Willenhall.