The Stourbridge Line User Group has campaigned for many years for the restoration of a rail passenger service from Stourbridge Junction to Dudley and beyond.
Three options were available
● a Metro service from Brierley Hill to Wednesbury linking with the existing Line 1 to provide through services to Wolverhampton and Birmingham.
● a tram/train service from Stourbridge Junction to Walsall and beyond.
● a heavy rail service from Worcestershire to Lichfield providing an alternative cross-country service.
Developments in 2017 raised hopes that passenger rail services would be restored over the entire line from Stourbridge Junction to Wednesbury, albeit in two sections. Between Brierley Hill and Wednesbury, work started to clear vegetation to prepare the route for a Metro line to be constructed, subject to a grant from the Government. On Monday 20 November 2017, the Government announced that the funds to build the line had been granted to the West Midlands Combined Authority, and work started in 2019 with the entire line due to open in 2023. The line will follow the heavy rail route from Wednesbury to Tipton Road and from Cinder Bank to Harts Hill (Canal Street), with the other sections diverting from this route through Dudley Town Centre and from Harts Hill to The Waterfront, Merry Hill and Brierley Hill.
Stourbridge Line User Group has always held the opinion that this Metro line was of little use to passengers in the Stourbridge and Worcestershire areas without the section from Canal Street or Brierley Hill to Stourbridge Junction being reinstated. On 14 August 2017, West Midlands Trains, the operators of the new heavy rail franchise from 10 December 2017, announced that they had aspirations to extend services from the Birmingham area that terminated at Stourbridge Junction to a new station at Harts Hill (Canal Street) with a intermediate park and ride startion at Brierley Hill (Moor Street). The intended opening date for this extension was December 2019, but this was dependent on the business case being proved. Unfortunately, a consultants' report gave the plans a very low BCR (benefit to cost ratio) and the plans were quietly ditched.
Since then, West Midlands Combined Authority has hired consultants to report on how to link the Metro at either Canal Street or Brierley Hill with Stourbridge but the report has been delayed by the Ciovid-19 crisis. In addition, Pre-Metro Operations, who operate the Stourbridge Town branch, have proposed a light-rail link from Stourbridge Junction to Canal Street.
It remains to be seen how these proposals progress. Up to date information on progress on the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro line can be found on the Midland Metro Alliance website and a link to that page is available below. Once there is any positive news on reinstating a link to Stourbridge Junction, SLUG will publish the news on this website.
In Spring 2012, SLUG officer Roger Davis photographed the route of the line to ascertain the state of the trackbed after nearly 20 years out of use. Photographs at various points along the line can be viewed by clicking on the locations below.
He revisited some sites in March 2017 to view the progress in clearing the trackbed. At locations where comparable photographs were taken, these are displayed together.
Over the next few years, we will revisit the line to photograph progress as work continues to restore a rail link over the line between Wednesbury and Stourbridge Junction.