Plans to build a new railway station in the Black Country have moved a step closer after council chiefs agreed a £400,000 investment for a land deal.
West Midlands Combined Authority will use the capital to acquire a patch of land next to the Anchor Meadow Health Centre off Westfield Drive, in Aldridge, which is currently owned by the NHS.
It will mean proposals can be drawn up to design and build the new station to serve the town again after its previous facility was closed as a result of the Beeching cuts in the 1960s.
Detailed designs are still being worked up but initial plans include a 150-space car park.
Transport chiefs hope to have two trains an hour running to Walsall and Birmingham New Street, serving an estimated 500,000 people a year.
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The land being purchased was once used as the approach entrance to the old station and would be needed for similar purposes for the new facility.
The original Aldridge station was opened by the Midland Railway in 1879 and in 1923 became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway before passing to the London Midland Region of British Railways on nationalisation in 1948.
The project in Aldridge is part of wider moves to improve rail connections across the West Midlands which will see new stations built in Darlaston and Willenhall, in the Black Country, and also Hazelwell, Moseley and Kings Heath, in Birmingham.
All five are expected to be open to passengers by 2023 with proposals for a new station in Tettenhall also being explored.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “Securing this land means we can press ahead with our plans to give Aldridge its own station for the first time in more than half a century.
“All of these (new stations) and more form part of our transport plan for the region which is so desperately needed after decades of under investment in public transport.
“Alongside new and expanded metro lines and very light rail in Coventry, both of which are at the heart of our transport plan, new and re-opened stations provide better transport links as well as helping to drive economic growth.
“This will be crucial as we look to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and recapture the region’s previous economic momentum.”
Ian Ward, Birmingham City Council leader and transport chief with the combined authority, added: “Reopening Aldridge station would not only reconnect another town to our local rail network, it can also move forward proposals to get the Sutton Park line reopened to passengers.
“That would benefit other communities including Walmley and Castle Vale.
“Investing in our transport network is a key part of the region’s covid-19 recovery plans and we are set to invest hundreds of millions in new stations, metro tram lines and emission free buses over the next few years, helping to support our economy and our clean air ambitions.”