150 MILES OF NEW LINE PROPOSED
MAYOR OF the West Midlands Andy Street has unveiled a ‘Tube-style map of the West Midlands’, setting out his 20-year ambition for Metro and rail lines in the region. Mr Street, who is seeking to be re-elected as mayor in May, proposes the construction of eight new Metro lines and 21 ‘heavy rail’ stations across the West Midlands by 2040.
His Metro plans involve building over 150 miles of new lines and around 380 new stops and, in addition to trams running on roads and on rail lines through the use of tram-train technology, he proposes using ‘cut and cover’ tunnelling on narrower roads, enabling trams to run without impacting on road traffic. The eight lines would be named after local figures, giving them an identity beyond just the areas they serve.
In Coventry, new technology such as ‘very light rail’ trams and driverless autonomous pods could be used to connect key sites such as the University of Warwick, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Ansty and the city centre, with JLR itself playing a key part in developing the vehicles.
As well as existing station reopening plans on the Camp Hill and Wolverhampton to Walsall lines, a raft of new or reopened stations is proposed, with a number of park and ride stations and infrastructure upgrades to provide the capacity needed for them where appropriate.
Mr Street says that the total cost of these plans would be around £15 billion, or around £750 million per year for the next 20 years. These costs would be met by additional funding from central government, contributions from housing and commercial developers and borrowing against the future income from ticket sales on the Metro.
Speaking to Modern Railways, Mr Street said his proposals had been welcomed by the Prime Minister, noting ‘The Government was elected by breaching the “red wall” in the West Midlands and the North and they know that they have got to invest in infrastructure in the regions away from London.’