A multi-million pound Very Light Rail system is being planned for Wednesbury, which council chiefs say will bring better connectivity, more people and money into the town.
Talks are under way to bring in the pioneering rail system, which would link the bus station to a Metro stop on the edge of town. Bosses said they are ‘very hopeful and optimistic’ about the innovative project, which could be up and running within two years. The scheme will be similar to the successful Stourbridge Shuttle and built by the same firm – Cradley Heath-based Parry People Movers.
The firm’s chairman John Parry said the vision is for a 2km loop around the town centre, which would ‘dramatically change the relationship’ between the town centre and the Metro station in Great Western Street. Sandwell Council leader Steve Eling said the scheme would boost Wednesbury by linking two transport hubs. He said: “We’re looking into a short connection Very Light Rail vehicle…between the Great Western Street Metro stop and the bus station.
“Parry People Movers, a Sandwell company, would take that forward and it would bring a number of benefits around the connectivity of the town centre, also help develop a Sandwell business and the economy in Sandwell. “I’m very hopeful that we will be able to bring forward something quite positive as soon as possible.” Parry People Movers’ engineers and council officers have already carried out a walk through around the town. The next step is for a ‘scoping survey’ which could be completed sometime in the new year.
Councillor Eling added: “Wednesbury would be ideal for the project if the resources can be found.” A track will be laid on top of the roads in the town, making installation simple and avoiding any traffic problems, according to Parry People Movers chairman Mr Parry – who said the scheme could be up and running by late 2018 or early 2019.
“The vision is to reproduce the Stourbridge Shuttle’s impact by creating a similar shuttle in Wednesbury town centre,” Mr Parry said. “Instead of just a ‘there and back’ route we think it would work best as a loop which goes around the town centre.”