West Midlands Combined Authority boost for public transport

WMCA approves transport plan for the next decade.

A transport blueprint that will see £3.4 billion of tram extensions, new suburban rail lines, cycle routes and motorway improvements built over the coming decade has been approved.

Members of the West Midlands Combined Authority agreed to the 2026 Delivery Plan for Transport at its meeting in Birmingham on Friday September 8th. Prepared by Transport for West Midlands, the WMCA’s transport arm, the plan is part of the authority’s long term transport strategy Movement for Growth and sets out a high level programme of infrastructure projects up to 2026.

This will be the first delivery phase of a longer term 20 year strategy to improve transport and unlock economic growth across the West Midlands and will ensure the region is ready for the arrival of the HS2 high-speed rail system, which is scheduled to begin services from two new stations in Birmingham in 2026.

Cllr Roger Lawrence, lead member for transport for the WMCA and leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “The Delivery Plan maps out the way forward for transport in this region in delivering future prosperity.

“Transport is key as we work to ensure the West Midlands punches its weight nationally and globally. HS2 will bring us closer to London and the UK’s other big city regions and make us a world-class place in which to do business. Now that this blueprint has been approved we can get to work in putting it into action.

“These are exciting schemes that will transform transport in our region and steer investment here to create new jobs and homes, building on the significant growth and development that is already happening through HS2.”

The final plan was compiled including feedback from a six week online public consultation.

Key amongst the responses was a demand for a bigger role for cycling alongside the proposed schemes. As a result a £165 million Strategic and Local Cycle Network Development Programme has been added to existing cycling schemes in the Delivery Plan. Funding for this new programme is now being pursued.

Cllr Lawrence added: “I am particularly pleased at how the views of the public helped shape this final plan, that sort of input is key in helping us deliver what people need.”

The strategic programme of schemes is divided into three sections:
• More than £3 billion of committed schemes which are wholly or substantially funded
• A pool of potential schemes for which funding will be sought
• A set of longer-term studies and proposed projects

Schemes that will be built over the coming decade include:


• Extending the Midland Metro system to Birmingham Curzon HS2 station in Eastside then through Digbeth and north Solihull to Birmingham Airport/HS2 Interchange
• Improved road junction at congestion hot spots
• New cycle routes
• The Camp Hill Chords railway project to open up new suburban lines for areas such as Castle Vale and Castle Bromwich in the north and Moseley and Kings Heath in the south


• A redeveloped Coventry railway station
• Improvements to bottleneck road junctions and a new Key Route Network through the city
• Major improvements to the M6 and the A46
• New cycle routes

Dudley and Sandwell

• Midland Metro tram route between Brierley Hill, Dudley and Wednesbury, connecting to the existing Birmingham-Wolverhampton line
• Improved M5/M6 motorway junctions
• Smart motorways
• New cycle routes


• Extending the Midland Metro tram system from Digbeth, through north Solihull to Birmingham Airport/HS2 Interchange
• Improvements to M42 Junction 6 so that it is ready for HS2 and the UK Central development
• Improved transport connections between Blythe Valley Business Park, Solihull town centre and the airport/HS2 Interchange station
• New cycle routes


• New cycle routes
• Improvements to junctions on the M6
• New heavy rail connection to Wolverhampton, with new stations at Willenhall and James Bridge


• Improved transport connections to the i54
• New heavy rail connection to Walsall, with new stations at Willenhall and James Bridge
• Improvements to junctions on the M6
• New cycle routes

The full document can be found here