Archives – Express and Star ‘Our Century’ 1984.

Here is an article that I have in my Councillor Phil Bateman Archives- But it was also a major piece in the Express and Star ‘Our Century’ 1976 – 2,000.

Drawing of the Tram
Artist’s impression of the Metro

An ambitious 300 million plan to equip the West Midlands with the Metro “supertram” – vaunted as the most up to date public transport system in Europe – was given the green light in June.The system was to be based on a modern version of the old trams.

It won overwhelming backing from the county council’s Labour rulers following a three hour private meeting.

And county transport chiefs began a race against time in a bid to get the futuristic scheme off the drawing board before the county council system was dismantled.

The supertram was pencilled in to start in 1986 – the year the council was to disappear – and detailed design work was scheduled to get underway in 1984.

The plan took two years to assemble at a cost of 100,0000 with experts studying a dozen traffic “corridors” with Birmingham at the hub.

The “corridors” included West Bromwich, Sutton Coldfield, Kingstanding and Chelmsley Wood in the first phase of the plan.

The go-ahead was a personal triumph for Wolverhampton councillor, Phil Bateman, the left- wing chairman of the council’s public transport committee.

He had spent nearly an hour selling the system to the Labour group.

But in the event, the Midland Metro was not to come on track for another 15 years – in 1999 when it began running between Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more


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