A TRAM-TRAIN line linking Stourbridge to Aldridge is a step closer after a business plan for the new route was handed to Network Rail.

Under new proposals hybrid tram-trains will be used on the defunct freight line which runs through Dudley, West Bromwich and Wednesbury.

However, transport authority Centro has said forcasts that the line will be up and running by 2014 are 'very optimistic'.

Hundreds of jobs will be created by the scheme which aims to ease the burden on the existing road and rail network in the West Midlands.

Dudley Council’s cabinet member for transport Councillor Angus Adams said: "We believe there is a very strong case for this project to be approved, and are very optimistic.

"It would ease pressure on the roads and create a passage between areas of the region that don't have rail links at the moment."

Cash for the project is expected to come from the Department of Transport along with contributions from councils along the route.

However a Centro spokesman said: "This would be great for the region but it is very optimistic to think that it would be finished by 2014, it probably will be a few years after that."