Metro expansion plans “seriously flawed” say campaigners

Transport lobbyists call for alterations to Wolverhampton extension.

A group that campaigns for better rail and metro services has asked Centro to think again about plans to extend the Metro in Wolverhampton City Centre to the railway station.  There will be tracks along Piper’s Row, with a tram stop alongside the new bus station, then along Railway Drive over the ring road to finish at the rebuilt railway station.

Campaign for Rail says it supports the principle of extending the tram line, but claims there are two problems with the proposal. The junction for the extension is in the wrong place so trams would only run to the railway station for part of the day.  At other times, they would run to the present terminus, St. George’s which is more convenient for the city centre shopping area.

Ian Jenkins of Campaign for Rail said, “Metro users would be confused about which tram stop to go to and Centro would not achieve its aim of encouraging easy interchange between trams, buses and trains.  St. George’s should be retained, with the junction being near the police station so that all trams from Birmingham are reversed at St. George’s to go to the railway station.”

The second problem is that, at the railway station, only a single line and just one platform for trams is now proposed.  This would limit the number of trams that could be run.  Centro claims this is to allow the Steam Mill in Corn Hill to be retained but CfR claim that there is room for two tracks to run at this point.

Ian Jenkins added, “The next extension is to continue from the railway station to New Cross Hospital and Wednesfield. The original plans allowed for this, but the new plans would probably need the investment in the area of Wolverhampton station to be abandoned, just like the Birmingham Snow Hill end of the tram route is being abandoned with the extension to New Street.  A two platform tram stop should be built on Railway Drive alongside the new railway station building.”