The planning committee at Walsall Council gave the green light to applications by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) for the new train stations in Willenhall and Darlaston. The new stations are hoped to revitalise both areas, with better transport links and job opportunities for local people.
Walsall Council leader Mike Bird said: “It is a huge investment here by both the combined authority and the Government in Walsall – money allocated to actually bring back into the life the railway system that was unfortunately shelved back in the 1960s. It is a great time for Walsall, this is probably one of the biggest regeneration schemes we’ve seen to make people able to connect to the wider region.”
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said "Improving the transport links will boost industrial and housing developments in the area. We are now looking to get work underway as soon as possible, and our search for a construction contractor has already begun". People have been waiting a long time to see services restored, and these better connections will be a catalyst for regeneration in this part of the Black Country.”
Earlier this year, bosses said two new hourly services would call at the stations once they have been opened. One will be a direct Walsall to Wolverhampton route while the other will be a Wolverhampton to Birmingham service, calling at the existing Tame Bridge Parkway station as well as Darlaston and Willenhall.
Councillor Adam Hicken, who represents Willenhall North, said: “This will put Willenhall and Darlaston back on the map, quite literally in the case of the railway network. This is going to boost opportunities for probably over 60,000 people. It will help people to find new jobs further away, be able to travel to work more quickly, boost income for local businesses and make our two towns more desirable for homebuyers and renters.”