Friday 1 March 2024

Dramatic Dudley Developments (2)

Freight Is The Future - Maybe Not?

The future of freight, opines Richard Beeching, the Great and Good Doctor who, despite the misplaced opprobrium of railway enthusiasts, probably saved Britain's railways from annihilation. He came up with the concept of "Liner" trains carrying container "boxes"

One of the early Freightliner terminals to open was at Dudley on the site of the demolished "town" station.

The track from Wolverhampton and Walsall and south to Kidderminster remained to serve the terminal.

Dudley Freightliner Terminal was opened on the site of Dudley railway station in November 1967, as one of Freightliner's first rail terminals. It was an instant financial success and by 1981 was one of the most profitable Freightliner terminals in Britain, but Freightliner announced plans to close it and transfer the staff to the less successful Birmingham terminal. These plans were shelved in 1983 but resurfaced in 1986, with Dudley finally closing in September 1989. Trains continued to pass the site of the Freightliner terminal until the Wednesbury to Round Oak section of the South Staffordshire Line and Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton line closed in March 1993.

The through lines from the north can be seen in this picture of the non-terminal!

But even these have gone - but tracks remain ...

Tasty : Technology : Trams

... as these souvenir sweets and this building site will illustrate.
The remnants of the tracks can be seem to the right and the building is now complete and active.
The above view is from the road bridge on Castle Hill. Dudley Castle is on the left.
Here is the fascia board for the newbuild ...
... because, apart from giving sweeties out to delegates at trendy environmental conferences, the building is home to the Very Light Rail project.
Mini trams shuttle from outside the HQ and south into the Dudley Tunnel ...
... which has been poshed up to accommodate them.
fbb does wonder whether these diddy trams will have a future, as the present vehicle technology does require an expensive driver. Only time and an experimental line in Coventry will tell.

Bye Bye Bus Station

Those gorgeous pictures of "heritage" buses, some shown in yesterday's blog, do represent a rally to "celebrate" the closure of Dudley's second and most recent bus station. It closed back in January.

A missing vehicle from the range was a Midland Red D9 ...
... but in PTE livery ...
... adopted after the West Midlands panjandrum took over vast Black Country swathes of the glorious red bus operation. 

Most aged readers will know that the company was never called Midland Red; it was the Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Company hence the BMMO logo on the bus radiator.

Blue and cream never looked right on a D9!

So what will the third bus station for Dudley look like? We have seen the obligatory artists' impressions.

Without a plan view, the pictures are difficult to interpret; but that roof ...
... looks very expensive to maintain. Its predecessor was less whizzo but it was very easy to tack on a bit of bent tin and a pane of glass after, say, a UFO crash landed.

The out-of-date bus station is being replaced with a new interchange offering a modern, accessible environment and seamless connections between bus and Metro services.

As part of the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension, the new Interchange will better connect the people of Dudley to leisure and job opportunities across the region – as well as providing a modern gateway to the town for visitors.

Set to open in 2025, the interchange is just one in a series of major regeneration projects which are transforming Dudley town centre, including the Portersfield development. This also follows recent developments at the Very Light Rail Innovation Centre, Black Country Living Museum and the Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology.

I'm Not A Metro, I'm A Tram I Am
The route in question is from Wednesbury, on the existing tram route, to the Merry Hell shopping centre at Brierley Hill.
The first phase is to a temporary terminus in Dudley's Flood Street ...
... which will look a bit better when it opens!
Funding has now been announced for the second phase. 

But here is a map of the route through Dudley itself.
It is not clear from the above how the tracks will get through or round the Innovation Centre on the old station site. But Open Street Map shows a series of dotted lines which might be more accurate; certainly a bit easier to understand.
Tracks emerge from "round the back" of the Innovation Centre, thence to climb a bit of Castle Hill ...
... to then hang a left into the rather tatty Birmingham Street.
Streetview enters a black hole round the back of the existing bus station, but pictures record work on King Street ...
... and the left turn into Flood Street ...
... and so to the temporary terminus.
What fbb notices is that the trams are not routed very close to any of Dudley's shopping areas - it's very much a back street  route.

But we are told much of its route is through an area due for development so ...

... all together ...

... It will be lovely when it's finished!
Enjoy trying to work out how the tram will get to stop outside the new bus station ...
... if that IS the new bus station! The castle is there, resolutely eyeing developments from on high. fbb is looking forward to seeing the new seven segment teams on the Dudley route!!

 Next Variety blog : Saturday 2nd March 

1 comment:

  1. '... the company was never called Midland Red'. Not quite true - BMMO was retitled to become the Midland Red Omnibus Co Ltd in 1974, after the majority of services within the West Midlands metropolitan county had passed to WMPTE.