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Rail campaigners in the West Midlands have backed efforts by regional transport authority Centro to revive the Walsall – Wolverhampton rail service which was withdrawn by the Department for Transport in December 2008.

Centro unanimously passed a motion at its meeting earlier in the month calling for the service to be restored. The DfT originally withdrew the service owing to a lack of rolling stock, but new “Turbostar” trains due for delivery soon and a class 153 unit released from duties on the Stourbridge shuttle mean that there are now vehicles available for the service.

The West Midlands Campaign for Better Transport and Railfuture though say that this is just a start. They are also calling for the station at Willenhall to be re-opened as a priority - at an estimated cost of just £1.35 million - once the service is restored.

Alan Bevan, from Railfuture said We welcome the Centro endeavour to regain the Walsall – Wolverhampton service. The influx of new trains to the area this year will release other rolling stock to enhance other train services in the Midlands.”

Kevin Chapman from West Midlands Campaign for Better Transport commented that: “A direct train via Willenhall can link Walsall and Wolverhampton in just 12 minutes, compared to a bus service that takes nearly 45 minutes – assuming it’s not stuck in traffic. Centro are to be commended for their efforts in getting better rail services for people in the Black Country but this time they must ensure that the station at Willenhall is re-opened.”

“Business leaders continue to call for transport improvements, but we cannot build more roads to ease our way out of congestion – there must be an efficient and reliable public transport alternative. Improved local rail services in the Black Country would make it easier for people to get around and would be of economic benefit in regenerating the area.”

Railfuture and West Midlands Campaign for Better Transport have also suggested that the line to Aldridge be re-opened which could be used by an extended Walsall – Wolverhampton service in the future.



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