Multi-million pound rail

Plans submitted for multi-million-pound rail innovation hub

Dudley Council – in partnership with Warwick Manufacturing Group – has submitted a planning application for the construction of a very light rail innovation centre.

If authorised, the planned building will include meeting rooms, laboratories, teaching facilities, exhibition and conference space, a large engineering workshop and two-kilometre twin test tracks.

A separate application was submitted for the test track in October, which is yet to be decided.

Research will be conducted at the hub to reduce the weight and cost of railcars and track, enabling the creation of a lower-cost alternative to heavy rail.

Plans for the centre also include a new pedestrian foot bridge from the new building to Tipton Road, the future metro line and car parking.

Councillor Ian Kettle, cabinet member for planning and economic development, said: “This is one of the most exciting regeneration projects to take place in Dudley.

"If given the go ahead, the innovation hub will put Dudley at the forefront of the world’s development of very light rail technology. 

“We will be able to market this as a product worldwide and significantly boost our opportunities to strengthen and grow our local economy.”

The decision regarding the planning application is expected to be announced in the spring. 

The council has already been awarded £18m by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership towards the cost of the project.

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