DfT reveals victor of West Midlands rail franchise

Andrew Cummings
August 11, 2017

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that West Midlands Trains Ltd - a joint venture between Dutch firm Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui and Co Ltd - will take over the region's rail services in December and run them until March 2026.

The train company behind the chaos on the Southern network in the south-east has lost its contract to run services to and across West Midlands.

The Government and the regional mayor have promised a £1bn investment and better rail services for the West Midlands network under a new franchise that will be partly managed by group of local councils.


The department said under the new franchise deal, passengers will get free WiFi on all main line services by the end of 2019, compensation if services are delayed by more than 15 minutes and improved access for those requiring extra assistance.

Cleaner trains, improved services and more space to grab a seat - passengers have given their wish list to new rail operators.

"We are pleased to have the opportunity to work in partnership with the NTA to deliver a vital service to people living and working in and around Dublin".

"When it comes to our local train services we have not had this level of local influence and management before and it fits with the wider powers and responsibilities now being transferred from Whitehall to the West Midlands".

Richard Harrington has called the news "a real victory" as it will see an investment of £1bn and investment and new, longer trains.

"We will be investing almost £1bn into the network, delivering new trains, better stations and a whole host of other benefits for passengers".

The new franchise deal will see - for the first time - passengers entitled to 25 per cent compensation if their train is delayed by more than 15 minutes.

The Govia bid to continue running the services was unsuccessful. The new Cross City Line carriages will offer metro-style passenger facilities, just like on the London Overground, with increased space to carry more passengers and wider doors.

More than £60m invested on station improvements which will deliver over 1,000 new auto park spaces, over 2,500 cycle parking spaces, a cycle hire scheme trial, new and refurbished waiting rooms, and more seats at stations.

The routes between London, the West Midlands and Liverpool are set to receive an investment of nearly £1 billion, said the Department for Transport.

He added: "London Midland and its people have been part of our Group's rail business for 10 years".

Go-Ahead chief executive David Brown said he was "disappointed" that London Midland had missed out on the renewed franchise. We congratulate the consortium on winning the franchise.

"Having the ability to use our local knowledge and understanding to shape what West Midlands Trains will deliver for passengers under this franchise has also been a game changer".

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