silver anniversary of last passenger train through dudley

The following is an extract from a Press Release issued by the Stourbridge Line User Group.

23 February is exactly 25 years since the last passenger train ran along the Stourbridge Junction to Walsall railway line through Dudley Tunnel.  

Stourbridge Line User Group Chairman, Rob Hebron said:- “We can’t wait another 25 years for the next train through Dudley. Traffic congestion on our roads is so bad that we need to bring back the trains as soon as possible”.

Back in 1991, a group of enthusiasts called the Branch Line Society paid for a special train from London to come to Stourbridge Junction. Then, with one engine on the front and another on the back, they first went to Pensnett Trading Estate, then back to Brettell Lane and north through Dudley, Wednesbury and Walsall.

As recently as January this year, a charter train passed through Stourbridge Junction and was able to run as far as Round Oak, Brierley Hill, proving that a freight line can potentially carry passengers if stations are provided.

Rob Hebron added:-

“The plan now is for trams to run from Brierley Hill, using some sections of the old railway, through Dudley Town Centre, but only as far as Wednesbury. Instead of a missing link at each end, we need trains from Stourbridge all the way to Walsall. By bus, it’s a 90 minute journey, longer in the rush hour, and you need to change buses in Dudley. That’s not attractive for commuting every day. Businesses could draw from a bigger pool of labour if trains were brought back.”

The Stourbridge Line User Group is finalising its response to the West Midlands Rail Franchise consultation. Although SLUG has identified the Dudley Line as a contender for re-opening in its response, there is no obligation within the franchise specification for such a service.

Rob Hebron concluded: - “There are long term plans for a passenger railway on the route, extending as far as Brownhills. We are not knocking at a closed door. I believe that a shrewd new train operator for the Stourbridge Line would see the potential of a strategic rail corridor and fully co-operate with the West Midlands Combined Authority to make it happen. At this moment in time, there is only a vague promise of track access post 2043. The residents of Dudley and surrounding areas deserve better than this.”

22 february 2016