Ian Shires

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Willenhall North Ward, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Walsall MBC Learn more

Plans for new train stations given consent

by Ian Shires on 16 October, 2020

Another milestone has been reached in the long journey to secure new train stations for Willenhall and Darlaston as plans for the new stations were agreed at the October meeting of Walsall’s Planning Committee.

Both Willenhall and Darlaston were axed from the rail network by the Conservatives back in the 1960’s as part of the Beeching Plan so it was a little ironic to say the least to see Tory Councillors clambering to support a move which will lead to reinstating something that their Party took from the communities of both Willenhall and Darlaston all those years ago.

Both stations will initially serve a limited set of services linking the towns with Wolverhampton, Walsall and Birmingham when they come on stream in a couple of years time. The plan is for an hourly service to both Wolverhampton and Walsall along with another hourly service to Birmingham.

That being said we welcome this investment in getting our town back where it belongs within the rail network. The campaign now has to shift to getting the most out of this initial investment and build on it to increase the frequency of trains and the number of direct services so that Willenhall and Darlaston residents can benefit from future job prospects, opportunities for a wider choice of both further and higher education from colleges and universities and of cause inward investment in the form of new jobs and housing in our towns.

You can view the plans for both stations along with the reports that go with them by following this Link:

https://bit.ly/2IxluEh    (You will need to scroll through to page 51 for the report on Plans for Willenhall Station. The reports for Darlaston can be found on page 25)

You will notice from the Plans for the station at Willenhall, that pedestrian access off Bilston Street is limited to just one platform, and that the car park has space for just 30 cars. You will also see that it’s a good walk from any bus services. These were all points that I raised during the consultation period last year.

Perhaps now you can see more clearly why it is so important that this opportunity is seen as the beginning of the 2nd phase in the fight to get our town reconnected to the national rail network which has been denied to us since Beeching wielded his axe back in the 1960’s, rather than, as others are seeing it, as a chance to sit on their laurels claiming victory.

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