beleben

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Midland Metro to Brierley Hill

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Midland Metro Alliance, 10-year expansion programme

Midland Metro Alliance, 10-year expansion programme

According to the website of the Midland Metro Alliance [MMA], the business case for the £200 million extension of Midland Metro from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill is currently being refreshed “to secure “Devolution Deal” funding”.

TfWM news, 20 June 2017, 'Midland Metro expansion plans presented to transport secretary Chris Grayling'

“£200 million”? Or should that be “£310 million“?

Rail schemes listed in Centro's 'HS2 Connectivity Package'

Or perhaps, just pick a number?

Midland Metro Alliance, Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Extension, route plan

[Midland Metro Alliance]

The Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Extension [WBHE] will run largely along an existing (disused) heavy rail corridor [the trackbed of the so-called ‘South Staffordshire Line’]. It will deviate from this corridor to access Dudley town centre, Merry Hill and the terminus at Brierley Hill. The route is 11 kilometres long, and includes 17 stops, including 4 provisional stops.

The route of the proposed scheme branches off the existing Midland Metro line east of the current depot at Wednesbury.

There are park and ride stations proposed as part of the scheme.

We are investigating whether sections of the route can be operated using batteries rather than wires, and we will be looking to build a new depot to accommodate the extended fleet of trams that will run services on this scheme.
[…]
The business case and business case appendices were submitted on 19 June 2017.

To see the Transport and Works Act Order documentation for the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill extension on the Transport for West Midlands website, please click here.

Benefits of undertaking this extension include:

* Attracting inward investment and regeneration to Brierley Hill and Dudley Town Centre

* Supporting economic and population growth by linking jobs and people

* Improving the environment by reducing noise and air pollution around the Black Country by encouraging modal shift to public transport

* Providing a sustainable transport link between the Black Country and Birmingham and the existing national rail network by reusing an existing rail corridor

What is the outline programme for delivery?

The Wednesbury to Brierley Hill extension has an approved Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) which was granted by the DfT in 2005, and planing permission was implemented in 2009. We are currently refreshing the business case to secure “Devolution Deal” funding. One particular issue with this route was clearing the heavily overgrown rail corridor.

In January 2017 we performed vegetation clearing works, which enabled us to access the overgrown areas of this corridor, so that we can carry out environmental and structural surveys.

[…] It is planned for passenger services to start in 2023.

All images and information […] are not final and could be subject to change.

However, the June 2017 business case lacks detail and rigour, and does not offer credible evidence that the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill railway should be reopened as a Midland Metro line. The ‘assessment’ is policy-based evidence, rigged to favour TfWM’s pet scheme.

On page 17 of the appendices it is stated that

[MMA]

the best tram-train option, in terms of annual patronage figures, is the Stourbridge Junction to Line 1 through running option (DS3_Opt0) with nearly 6.2 million additional passengers travelling on the metro system annually in 2016.

Further analysis of the additional 6 million passengers in this option demonstrates that:

* 2 million passengers travel entirely on the BCA corridor between Wednesbury and Stourbridge Junction using the new tram-train service;

* 2 million passengers travel on Metro Line 1 corridor taking benefit of the increased frequency on Line 1 due to the through running tram-trains; and

* Nearly 2 million passenger travel between the BCA corridor and Line 1 corridor taking benefit of the connectivity between the two corridors due introduction of the new tram-train service.

Just 6 million tram journeys “in 2016” from a £310 million £200 million investment? To Stourbridge Junction, not Brierley Hill? Actually, more like 4 million, if the forecast is correct. That’s because 2 million of the claimed 6 million is “travel on [the existing] Metro Line 1 corridor taking benefit of the increased frequency on Line 1 due to the through running tram-trains”.

But the frequency on Line 1 could be increased, without building an extension to Brierley Hill. That’s because from 2014 the line was re-equipped with 21 Urbos tramcars, taking the place of the 16 T69 vehicles which were supplied for the opening of the line in 1999.

metroalliance.co.uk, WBHE economic assessment 2017, 'SDG best tram train patronage results'

If central and local government scrutiny mechanisms were fit for purpose, would Birmingham city council have ended up having to make £1 million-a-month debt repayments for its Centenary Square library? Would fire have ravaged unchecked through North Kensington’s Grenfell Tower? And would the Brierley Hill Midland Metro really be considered a ‘priority’ for local politicians?

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Written by beleben

July 3, 2017 at 9:45 am

Posted in Politics

One Response

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  1. GIven how cleaner, safer and more space efficient rail transport is compared to motor transport, I don’t think we should let any rail line be left unused in the West Midlands. The fact that there will be a on-street section of the propose tram line probably adds a significant cost but I think it’s important have it in Dudley.

    And anyway it’s not like the taxpayer doesn’t pay for road transport. We all bear the externalised costs of driving by paying the price for pollution, obesity, traffic accidents, subsidised parking and climate change.

    StreetWatch

    July 25, 2017 at 9:57 pm


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