“The expansion of Midland Metro is a long-term investment programme and absolutely key to the WMCA’s vision for strategic growth and regeneration,” says Ms Laura Shoaf, managing director of Transport for West Midlands, WMCA’s delivery arm. “The devolution deal the WMCA has signed will help secure £4.4bn especially for our growth strategy to make the most of the HS2 rail line arriving and, as part of that, the alliance has a critical role to play to deliver £1.2bn of schemes over the next decade.”
Work is underway to extend the existing light rail line from Birmingham New Street station to Centenary Square, while in Wolverhampton, an £18m city centre extension has been approved. Both extensions are expected to open in 2019.
Funding has also been earmarked for an extension from Centenary Square via Five Ways to Edgbaston by 2021, while the route has been chosen for an extension from Bull Street in Birmingham city centre via the planned HS2 high-speed station at Curzon Street to Digbeth bus station and the Custard Factory. It is anticipated the line could open by 2023. A business case is also being prepared for a light rail line from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill using the alignment of a disused railway.