Work starts on £43m Metro depot expansion

Work is now underway on the expansion of the West Midlands Metro depot at Wednesbury to accommodate the increased fleet of trams.

New extensions to the line in Birmingham and Wolverhampton city centres and a new line to Dudley town centre – currently under construction – means that more trams are required to operate on the growing network and more capacity needed to store and maintain them.

Regional transport bosses have launched a £43m redevelopment of the Metro depot site in Potters Lane.

The on-site capacity will be more than doubled to accommodate the growing fleet of vehicles and allow them to manoeuvre around the yard.

The development also includes extended and updated workshop and maintenance facilities, a tram wash, a new operations centre and staff facilities to accommodate a growing workforce.

An estimated 150 jobs will be created as a result of the expansion of the network and depot.

In 2019 the WMCA placed an order for 21  trams, doubling the fleet. Of these, 11 have already been delivered and the remainder are due to arrive later this year ahead of completion of the extension between Wednesbury and Dudley in 2024.

The depot development is being led by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the WMCA, owner of the Metro system. Construction is being carried out by the Midland Metro Alliance – the consortium responsible for delivering all West Midlands Metro infrastructure. The project is funded from the City Region Sustainable Funding Settlement awarded to the West Midlands last year.

Construction is now underway with space being cleared to expand the yard and track, as well as provide a direct track link to the new extension towards Dudley.

Next to the depot work is well advanced on the construction of the junction which will link the existing line between Birmingham and Wolverhampton to the new line, phase one of which will take services to Dudley town centre. With phase two to Brierley Hill to follow later.

This includes taking the track up a newly built incline to meet the existing raised line next to the depot.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, said: “We need more room to accommodate even more trams so this depot extension is very welcome news.

“Construction crews are hard at work right across our region expanding our Metro network in Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Sandwell and Dudley and this depot extension helps us to meet the consequent uptick in demand that will result from the new extended network.

“Once complete, even more local residents and businesses – especially those in Dudley – will be able to benefit from a rapid, convenient and affordable alternative to the car for their journeys around the West Midlands.”

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