In Stourbridge, we are served by excellent rail links to the rest of the region and beyond, with direct services to London and quick access to the existing main line and upcoming high speed rail lines in Birmingham. However, our rail links to the rest of the Dudley Borough need improvement.
Pre Metro Operations (PMOL) already run the hugely successful Stourbridge Shuttle between Stourbridge Junction and Stourbridge Town, and want to expand their services to include the Stourbridge Dasher - a proposed passenger service connecting Stourbridge to Brierley Hill. This will link up Stourbridge with the rest of the Black Country thanks to the upcoming Metro extension, linking Brierley Hill to Dudley, Wednesbury, and beyond.
I am working with PMOL and neighbouring MP for Dudley South, Mike Wood, to identify sources of funding to move this important project forward.
After visiting Revolution VLR and seeing their hybrid diesel electric power train in Ironbridge, I was impressed by their ‘made in the West Midlands’ train which could be used on the line.
To get plans moving, I am calling for £50,000 to be spent on a feasibility study for the ‘Stourbridge Dasher’ rail service to link the town to Brierley Hill.
The Dasher will be transformative. It will run along an old passenger line and extend the branch line, and restore an important economic link. It is railway restoration at its very best.
It would be good for areas such as Amblecote and Brierley Hill, with stations planned at Vicarage Road and Brettell Lane, and good for jobs by increasing the ease of travel, taking the burden off roads such as the A461, and sparing residents from frequent traffic jams. Of 1,500 people surveyed in my constituency, 87% were in favour of the Dasher and would make use of it.
PMOL has done a brilliant job of putting together a business case, through work done out of dedication and love of the branch line, and with innovative thinking.
After meeting with the West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, we are confident that we can find the funding needed for the feasibility study in the Devolution Deal announced by the Government at the budget.
Together, Andy and I are getting on with delivering this project which will change the lives of local people for the better in the months and years ahead.