Phase one of City of Wolverhampton’s new railway station will open to the public on Monday (May 25).
Works on the first of two construction phases has been completed and the building has been handed over to West Midlands Railway (WMR).
The full benefits of the new station will not be felt for some time with people currently being urged to follow the Government’s coronavirus guidance and not travel by train unless absolutely essential.
The opening of the first phase is a major milestone in the city’s £150million Interchange development that will better connect train, tram and bus.
Wolverhampton Interchange Partnership consists of City of Wolverhampton Council (CWC), Ion, West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), West Midlands Railway, Avanti West Coast, Network Rail, Midland Metro Alliance, Canal & River Trust, and Black Country LEP.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “The new Wolverhampton Railway Station is a crucial part of public transport plans for the West Midlands, and I am pleased the WMCA could help play its part in making it happen alongside City of Wolverhampton Council and other partners.
“Of course, at the moment we are urging people to follow the Government’s guidelines and only use public transport if it is absolutely essential, meaning we are not expecting many passengers to see the new station yet. But this will all change when restrictions ease further and we begin to encourage people back onto public transport.
"Not only that, soon Wolverhampton commuters will be able to travel seamlessly across the region, with the West Midlands Metro extension along Pipers Row set to link to this new station as well as the existing bus station.
“The new station is a brilliant development for the city, and yet another example of how partnership working is benefitting the West Midlands.”
Station signage has been installed and a clear pedestrian access route to the new station entrance will be marked out around the phase two works, which will begin immediately. Contractors Galliford Try will strictly follow Government guidance on health and safety linked to the coronavirus pandemic in carrying out the works.
Phase one includes six ticket vending machines, new British Transport Police, toilet, accessibility and baby changing facilities, three retail units ready to be fitted out, and train crew accommodation.
Due to coronavirus social distancing measures a one-way system has been marked out at the station for people to follow and customers are being encouraged to buy their tickets online in advance if possible.
The station development has been cleverly designed in two phases to ensure the works do not impact on train services from City of Wolverhampton.
City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said: “A lot of hard work has been put in by all the partners on the Interchange scheme and I am looking forward to seeing our new railway station up and running from Monday 25th.
“Of course, at this time it is vital that people follow the Government’s coronavirus guidance and do not use the train or pubic transport in general unless absolutely necessary.
“The new station building will make a huge difference to the passenger experience and, with the partners now cracking on with phase two of the development, it will ultimately provide a gateway to our city that we can all enjoy using - and be proud of.
“There is more than £4.4 billion of investment on site or in the pipeline across the city, and the railway station development is a big part of how we are re-imagining and re-inventing our city centre.”
Phase two of the programme will see the demolition of the remainder of the current station building and completion of the new build to house three more retail units, as well as a customer waiting room and help point.
The new station building to serve the city will be fully open in early 2021.
Jonny Wiseman, head of customer experience for West Midlands Railway, said: “This bright, modern building will bring huge benefits to our customers at Wolverhampton and the wider region. For now, the railway is reserved for only the most essential journeys but we can look forward with excitement to this superb facility serving the whole community for many decades to come.”
Steve Parry, managing director of Ion Development, said: “This is a pivotal moment in the delivery of the Wolverhampton Interchange. The city’s railway station will be a gateway to the Black Country and, following the current phase of lockdown, will give us the opportunity of showcasing the results of the citywide investment and hard work put in thus far. We are delighted by the way the scheme has been delivered - with a superb team working across a range of partners.”
Dave Penney, Central route director for Network Rail, added: “It’s great that phase one of the transformation of Wolverhampton station has reached this milestone. It will greatly improve future journeys for passengers travelling to and from the city. Until then, I urge people to follow government advice and avoid using public transport wherever possible.”
To enable delivery of Network Rail and West Midlands Railway planned enhancement works to the pedestrian subway that leads into the rear of the station, the subway will remain closed until phase two of the development work is complete.
A recommended, temporary pedestrian diversion route is already in place for customers wanting to access the station via Wednesfield Road.