Plans are today unveiled for the new passenger rail stations on the Walsall to Wolverhampton rail line.
These are the latest images of the proposed Darlaston and Willenhall Stations currently being developed by regional rail chiefs.
The original stations were closed in 1965. Passenger services resumed on the Walsall to Wolverhampton line in 1998 but ceased a decade later.
The stations will give the people of Darlaston and Willenhall vastly-improved access to jobs and opportunities in the centres of Wolverhampton, Walsall and Birmingham.
Now transport chiefs want to hear the views of local residents through a consultation launching on Monday, March 4. As well as viewing and commenting on the plans online, residents will be able to visit any of six drop-in sessions over the next four weeks.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “The publication of these plans is the next major step towards bringing passenger rail services back to the Wolverhampton to Walsall line.
“The opening of these stations is just one part of our plans to regenerate and revitalise this part of the Black Country.
“They will help unlock swathes of land for industrial, commercial and housing development between Wolverhampton and Walsall.”
Willenhall Station will be sited next to the Bilston Street railway bridge close to the town centre, while Darlaston Station will be built on derelict land next to the Kendricks Road bridge.
Both stations’ facilities include:
• Two platforms to accommodate six carriage trains
• Pedestrian footbridge, stairs and lifts for access between platforms
• Ticket machines and customer information systems
• Station designs incorporate passenger help-points to improve safety
• Pick-up/drop-off areas and secure cycle storage
Both stations will have long-stay car parks, with 300 spaces provided at Darlaston and 150 spaces at Willenhall.
The plans have been drawn up by the West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) with the majority of costs covered from the region’s HS2 Connectivity Fund.
They are being developed in close collaboration with train operator West Midlands Railway, the City of Wolverhampton Council, Walsall Council and Network Rail.
It is anticipated there will initially be an hourly service between Wolverhampton and Walsall stations and an hourly service between Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton.
Cllr John Reynolds, City of Wolverhampton Council cabinet member for city economy, said: “The reopening of this rail line will be good for Wolverhampton business and offer people easier and faster services to Walsall and beyond.
“It will also encourage regeneration and the opportunity to develop new housing and industry along the rail corridor.”
Cllr Adrian Andrew, deputy leader of Walsall Council, said: “This is fantastic news for the people of Darlaston and Willenhall who have been waiting to see passenger services restored.
“Alongside the new station will be a 300-space long-stay car park which can play a major part in tackling the congestion on our streets and keeping the region moving.”
Following consultation, formal planning applications will be submitted during the summer and it is hoped work can start on site towards the end of next year with trains running by 2022.
Richard Brooks, customer experience director for West Midlands Railway, said: “The reopening of these two stations will benefit many people in surrounding communities.
“We welcome to work of West Midlands Rail Executive and other partners to bring these stations to life, and encourage local residents to engage with the consultation on the new station plans.
“With our £1bn worth of investment into our network over the coming years, including new trains and increased capacity on routes across the West Midlands, this is an ideal time to open up rail travel to even people across the region.”