Birmingham & Black Country

Mothballed Dudley railway line set to reopen

A plan of the rail line Image copyright Dudley Council
Image caption The council said the scheme was a, "major coup for Dudley"

A West Midlands railway line which has been closed to passengers for 50 years could be reopened in a £20m scheme.

Dudley Council and Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) - part of the University of Warwick - plans to reconnect Dudley to the national rail network and build a "light rail innovation hub" in the town centre.

The hub, which would create 50 jobs, would develop light rail technology.

The council said the scheme was a "major coup for Dudley".

'Led industrial world'

The innovation centre, to be built on the site of the former Dudley railway station, would develop and test what the council says would be "the next generation of light rail systems" which it is hoped could be offered to a worldwide market.

The council says the proposals could create "hundreds" of jobs in the future.

Under the scheme, a Very Light Rail (VLR) line would be introduced to link Dudley to Dudley Port railway station in Sandwell, which has a rail link to Birmingham city centre.

Image copyright Dudley Council
Image caption The innovation centre would be built on the site of the former Dudley railway station

Dudley Station was closed to passengers in the 1960s. The line to Dudley Port was used as a freight line until it was mothballed in the late 1980s.

  • Dudley Station opened in 1860 and was eventually divided between two companies: Great Western Railway and London Midland & Scottish
  • It came under the control of British Railways in 1948 after the railways were nationalised
  • It closed as part of the Beeching cuts in 1964 but the freight lines and sidings remained in use until 1989

A line would also be opened for testing the new vehicles created in the innovation centre.

The council says work on the scheme, which is also being funded by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, European funding and private sector investment, could start in 2016. It hopes the line could reopen within five years.

The council said the project, "celebrates the days when Dudley led the industrial world, only this time through modern technology".

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