DfT reveals victor of West Midlands rail franchise

DfT reveals victor of West Midlands rail franchise”

Trains running only in the West Midlands area will be jointly managed by the DfT and West Midlands Rail (WMR), a consortium of 16 local councils.

The West Midlands Trains Ltd consortium led by the Abellio subsidiary of Dutch national operator NS (70·1%) and the JREM Train 50:50 joint venture of East Japan Railway and Mitsui & Co (29·9%) was named preferred bidder for the West Midlands franchise by the Department for Transport on August 10.

As part of the franchise deal, the Department for Transport (DFT) said that almost £1 billion would be invested in train services in the Midlands including 400 new carriages by 2021 and increased capacity on rush-hour services between Birmingham and London.

The franchise covers routes across the West Midlands - as well as trains from London Euston to Crewe and Liverpool to Birmingham.

Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, said: "This is great news for passengers using West Midlands services - with new trains, more space, more regular services and easier access for disabled people".

ABELLIO has won the West Midlands franchise, ending a decade of control by Govia.

Majority Govia shareholder Go-Ahead Group said it was "disappointed" to have lost the franchise, which it will now hand over in December.

As well as an increase in frequency, the deal will see major investment in new trains with local services branded under a new West Midlands Railway livery.

London Midland said the new franchise would bring "much welcomed investment in new services and extra capacity across the network".

Go-Ahead chief executive David Brown said: "London Midland and its people have been part of our Group's rail business for ten years".

"This deal, together with the significant transport infrastructure set to be built in the West Midlands, will help ensure we have efficient train services that connect with the rest of the wider bus and tram network and, of course, the forthcoming high-speed rail line", Cllr Lawrence stated.

"I would like to thank everyone involved in London Midland for their hard work and contribution to the company's successes".

It is the first time that West Midlands authorities have had such a level of influence in setting out what a train company needs to deliver for local passengers.

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