Despite the impact of Covid, progress continues apace on my investment plan to transform the region’s public transport.
I want to pay tribute to all of the bus drivers, metro and train staff who have kept our public transport running in the most difficult of conditions, ensuring people can get to work and keeping the fabric of our communities together. Thanks also go to all the teams working on building the vital new transport infrastructure. We’ve not stopped investing in our transport and these improvements are going to underpin our economic recovery and jobs.
Recent local progress for Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield includes:
- New trains for the Cross-City line are being built ready to come into service next year serving stations including Chester Road, Erdington, Gravelly Hill and Aston.
- Proposals submitted to Government as part of the “Restoring your Railways” scheme to open stations at The Fort and Castle Vale
- Planning permission granted to re-open Kings Heath, Moseley and Stirchley/Hazelwell stations
- £56million replacement of University station approved
- Metro expansion out to Edgbaston village continuing
- Expanded Longbridge Park and Ride opening
- Electric buses now serving Birmingham from Yardley Wood bus station
- Initial plans for a new Perry Barr station being consulted on
- Developing plans for the reopening of Aldridge station as the first step towards reopening the Sutton Park line.
- Continuing progress on the new public transport interchange in Sutton Coldfield as part of the town centre regeneration.
- Rapid bus routes under construction on the Coventry Road and Walsall Road
Also, I am working closely with Andrew Mitchell MP and local Conservative Councillors to significantly improve the service and facilities for train and bus users in the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield.
In Coventry there is progress being made with:
- The redevelopment of Coventry station continuing backed with £39.4m of regional funding
- Electric buses now serving Coventry on the 9/9a routes to communities like Finham
- £5m of regional funding to build a flagship Binley Road cycle route from Coventry University to University hospital
- £15m of Government funding for a “Very Light Rail” scheme to be piloted in Coventry
- £1.5m to fund the upgrade of Pool Meadow Bus station
- Coventry Conservatives and I are campaigning to reopen railway stations including Binley/Willenhall, Coundon and Foleshill, plus rollout more electric buses
Work is continuing in Dudley and Sandwell to deliver the metro expansion through Dudley Town Centre and out to Brierley Hill.
- Currently work is focused at the Sandwell end of the line with the removal of old railway bridges to make way for the new line.
- Progressing the metro works with Dudley Council, led by Cllr. Patrick Harley, I am working with the Council to secure the funding for the brand-new bus interchange in the town centre as the next piece of the jigsaw in improving public transport in the borough.
- We are extending the metro out from Wednesbury to Dudley – picking up new stops like Great Bridge, Horseley Road, Sedgley Road and Birmingham New Road, to serve communities around Tipton and Tividale. The metro expansion will see much more of Sandwell connected to Birmingham, Dudley and Wolverhampton and help tackle the congestion in the borough.
- Construction is underway on a rapid bus route to reduce the amount of traffic coming down the A34 through communities like Great Barr.
Solihull Council and I are working together on a series of transport and environmental improvements.
- Major investment in our railways, with all Snow Hill trains having been refurbished and new trains on order for the Coventry to Birmingham line.
- Working with National Express, Solihull and Shirley have been chosen to benefit from the first of their electric buses – serving the number 6 route.
- National Express have committed never to buy another diesel bus.
Cllr. Ian Courts, Solihull Council Leader comments, “Working with Andy regionally we are taking strong action to improve the environment and transport experience in the borough, including plans for enhancing local rail services.”
In Walsall I am progressing with:
- Planning permission granted to re-open Darlaston and Willenhall stations
- Ongoing preparatory work for the reopening of Aldridge station
- £78m upgrade of the M6 Junction 10
With planning permission granted, Eddie Hughes MP and I are working to secure the Government funding to start work on Darlaston and Willenhall stations, restoring direct trains between Walsall and Wolverhampton. Also, Wendy Morton MP, Walsall Council and I are working to purchase the site for the new Aldridge station and secure planning permission.
In Wolverhampton work is progressing with:
- Opening of phase one of the new Wolverhampton railway station and construction underway on phase two – due to open next year – along with the metro extension.
- Planning permission granted for new stations at Darlaston and Willenhall – which will enable the restoration of direct Walsall – Wolverhampton services.
- Expansion of the metro in the Black Country continuing.
With the £150million transport interchange nearing completion I am working with local MPs Stuart Anderson and Jane Stevenson on winning Government backing for a new railway station to serve the Pendeford and Tettenhall communities.