The West Midlands Rail Executive has confirmed that there will be two trains an hour calling at Willenhall and Darlaston stations when the Walsall to Wolverhampton line reopens to passenger services.
Trains last called at Willenhall and Darlaston stations more than 50 years ago and the Walsall to Wolverhampton line has been used only by freight services since 2008. Now, West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) and Network Rail have agreed a timetable for services to call at the when the line reopens.
Under the new agreement there will be:
- An hourly service between Walsall and Wolverhampton;
- An hourly service between Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton, via Tame Bridge, Darlaston and Willenhall, which will be created by diverting an existing Crewe to Birmingham service.
The rail service offers the people of Darlaston and Willenhall a huge 54-minute time saving on bus journeys into Birmingham city centre and a significant 15-minute saving on travelling by car.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “It is fantastic that agreement on services has been reached with Network Rail which shows we are making great progress on plans to get these rail stations built and the line open.
“The Walsall to Wolverhampton rail corridor is an important part of our the plans to regenerate and revitalise this area of the Black Country; acting as a catalyst to unlock swathes of land for industrial, commercial and housing development.
“Investment in transport is now even more important to our economy as we aim to bounce back from the pandemic.”
Dave Penney, Network Rail Central route director, said: “It’s exciting to be able to re-establish rail links for passengers in Willenhall and Darlaston and we have worked hard with our partners to help make it possible.
“Opening up the railway to these Black Country communities will be a key driver to the long-term regeneration of the wider region. In the short-term, I’d urge everyone to continue to follow government advice and avoid using public transport unless absolutely necessary.”
Deputy leader of Walsall Council Cllr Adrian Andrew said: “This is great news for Walsall businesses and residents and provides the connectivity we need to support and develop our local economy especially Willenhall and Darlaston.”