The first section of rail has been installed in Dudley in a “momentous” step forward for the highly-anticipated Metro extension.
A total of 300 metres of track is now in place on Castle Hill after it was successfully delivered to site late last month. The installation marks a significant step forward for the light rail project – the biggest of its kind in the UK – and comes as the borough awaits news on its bid for city status.
Local leaders visited the site to see the rail in situ and congratulate workers on reaching another significant milestone on the project.
From left: Cllr Patrick Harley, Leader of Dudley Council, Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, Grace Hayward, assistant delivery manager at MMA and Jacob Hodson, MMA's assistant project manager.
Speaking at the site, Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “It was just a little over two weeks ago that we were marking the delivery of the rail and it’s fantastic to now see this track in place along Castle Hill. This is a momentous milestone for the people of Dudley and the Black Country as it means that we are one step closer to unlocking the huge benefits this Metro extension will bring to the region. It will enable better connections to the East and West of Birmingham by tram and excitingly it will also provide a direct route to HS2 - linking Dudley and Sandwell into the rest of the UK beyond the West Midlands. What better time to be doing this as Dudley makes its bid for city status – a bid I wholeheartedly support. Congratulations to the team for all the work they have done to bring us to this stage.”
Councillor Patrick Harley, Leader of Dudley Council, added: “Seeing the first bit of track on the ground is a massive symbol of progress in this scheme, which will be a real game-changer for Dudley. We have huge ambitions to become the City of Dudley and this, as part of a regeneration package totalling nearly a billion pounds, shows we mean business and are firmly on track. This Metro route is set to play an integral part in the regeneration of our borough. It will help to create more opportunities for people in terms of jobs, training and connectivity and I look forward to seeing it take shape in the coming weeks and months.”
Months of preparation has taken place ahead of this next phase of construction including the removal of the road surface and the upgrading and diverting of utilities in the area. Following the successful installation of the first section of track, the team at the Midland Metro Alliance, which is designing and delivering the route on behalf of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), is now welding the rail into place.
Stephen Christopher, Operations Director at MMA, said: “The team have worked extremely hard and we are delighted to have reached this important stage of the construction progress. There is a lot of work that goes on outside of the public eye and the recent rail installation really does bring this project to life.”
This Metro extension will boost public transport in the Black Country, providing much-needed links to the existing heavy and light rail networks, and helping connect people to education, training and career opportunities further afield in the West Midlands. For any further information about the work of the Midland Metro Alliance, please visit the dedicated project webpage or email firstname.lastname@example.org.