14 November 2017
SLUG arranged a meeting with West Midlands Trains at their head office. West Midlands Trains are keen to open the extensions to Brierley Hill and the Safari Park and are very confident that both would happen as funding had been agreed. The station at Brierley Hill would be built at Moor Street and would include car parking space. It would be paid for by the WMCA HS2 Connectivity Package fund. Trains would run every 30 minutes both off-peak and peak. The Brierley Hill service would be extended to Canal Street to interchange with the Midland Metro in 2023. The Safari Park station would be close to the Bewdley bypass on West Midlands Safari Park land and the Safari Park had promised funding. Park and ride facilities would be provided. Trains would operate every hour off-peak with extra services during peak hours. Trains would not operate when the Severn Valley Railway were holding a gala event.
Brierley Hill station closed with the rest of the passenger service on 30 July 1962. Originally, the passenger service was operated by the GWR and ran from Stourbridge Junction, Brierley Hill and Dudley to Tipton, Bilston West, Priestfield and Wolverhampton Low Level. The trackbed north of Dudley has long since been built over but the line between Stourbridge Junction and Dudley survived as part of a freight route which continued over the former LMS line to Dudley Port, Great Bridge, Wednesbury and Walsall. SLUG has campaigned for the restoration of a rail link over this corridor and has stressed that the building of the Metro line should see a link to Stourbridge Junction and should include passive provision for a heavy rail or tram-train link along the complete length of the line.
14 August 2017
After the announcement on 10 August that West Midlands Trains (a consortium of Abellio, Mitsui and East Japan Railway) would operate the new West Midlands franchise from 10 December, Abellio gave a presentation to the West Midlands Combined Authority on 14 August. Although a lot of the information had already been specified in the Invitation to Tender, one unexpected announcement was that they had aspirations to open 7 new stations, including one at Brierley Hill and one at West Midlands Safari Park. These two stations were scheduled to open in December 2019.
21 November 2017
SLUG Officers attended the annual conference of West Midlands Rail, the consortium of 14 local authorities who will be managing the new franchise. We were told that they are equally enthusiastic about the extension of services to Brierley Hill. At the same meeting, SLUG officers also took the opportunity to talk to Jan Choudhry-Van Der Velde, the newly appointed Managing Director of West Midlands Trains, and discussed a number of issues that concerned us about the Stourbridge line - particularly overcrowding, both on the main line and on the Town branch. However, he made it clear just how committed they are to opening the 7 new stations.