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Restoration of historic Parkhead Viaduct for Black Country Metro route nears completion

Published: Wednesday 20 Mar 2024

The multi-million pound restoration of Dudley's historic Parkhead Viaduct is nearing completion, with the final scaffolding due to be removed in the coming days.

This major project, delivered by the Midland Metro Alliance (MMA) on behalf of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), marks a significant milestone for the second phase of the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension, as it is the first permanent structure delivered for the next part of the light rail scheme.

Originally constructed in the 1880s, Parkhead Viaduct is a vital piece of Dudley's railway heritage. Designed by the renowned engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the viaduct played a crucial role in connecting the town to the wider railway network but fell into disuse after heavy rail services were halted on this line in the middle of the last century.

This innovative restoration project has not only preserved the viaduct's historic character but also strengthened it from within mitigating any requirement to change the much-loved structure’s external appearance. By employing cutting-edge techniques, designers and construction professionals at the MMA have ensured the structure can seamlessly integrate with the modern demands of a tram system, guaranteeing its use for generations to come.

Image of the brick built viaduct with circular metal features

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: "The Parkhead Viaduct restoration is a fantastic example of how vital infrastructure projects can go hand-in-hand with preserving our heritage. This restored viaduct will not only serve as a crucial transport link but will also stand as a testament to Dudley's rich industrial past. I'm thrilled to see it become visible to the public once more, offering a fantastic local landmark to once-again for residents and visitors alike."

Cllr Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, added: "Thanks to the expertise of the delivery team, this work has ensured this important piece of Dudley's history is preserved for future generations. It's fantastic that local people will be able to enjoy seeing this landmark once more, now that the works are coming to an end. The completion of this phase is another key step towards the Metro coming to Brierley Hill.”

The viaduct will be fully revealed to the public in the coming weeks and those in the area can look forward to enjoying this local gem throughout the spring and summer months.

Tom Maplethorpe, project director for the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension at the MMA, said: “We're incredibly proud to have played a part in restoring an iconic local landmark. Whilst our works aim to improve and modernise the region’s transport infrastructure, we always look for opportunities to preserve and honour the region’s considerable industrial history”.  

The Parkhead Viaduct restoration is just one of several exciting developments for the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension and the delivery of a number of key structures needed for the 11km tramway. For example, the final replacement structure for the first phase of the scheme to Dudley will be installed on Birmingham New Road over a number of weekends in June, following the removal of the aged-bridge last December.

The Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension will boost public transport in the Black Country, providing much-needed links to the existing heavy and light rail networks, and helping to connect people to education, training and career opportunities further afield in the West Midlands. When the first phase of the route opens to the public, an additional nine stops will be added to the West Midlands Metro network linking people in Dudley town centre to both Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

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