The Department of Transport has today announced that from December this year West Midlands Trains Ltd will take over local rail franchises from current operators London Midland.
The deal covers routes out of Birmingham New Street, Moor Street and Snow Hill also includes lines to London Euston, Liverpool, Northampton, Stafford and Lichfield.
Abellio UK managing director Dominic Booth, one of the contract operators, said: “We are delighted to have been announced as preferred bidder for the West Midlands franchise, driving growth in one of the most exciting regions in the country.
“We will be investing nearly £1 billion into the network, delivering new trains, better stations and a whole host of other benefits for passengers.”
The joint venture between Dutch firm Abellio and Japanese partners will run until March 2026.
Speaking at Birmingham New Street earlier today, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “This shows we are delivering on our commitment to build a railway that works for everyone.”
West Midlands Trains Ltd have made the following promises to passengers, including:
- 400 new carriages by the end of 2021.
- Extra space for 85,000 passengers on rush-hour services in Birmingham and London.
- Free wifi on all main line services by the end of next year, 2019.
- Compensation if the service is delayed by more than 15 minutes.
- Improved access for those who require it.
Managing director Patrick Verwer of London Midland, the company which currently – and until December – operates the franchise said: “Over the coming months, our focus will remain on delivering the best possible service to our passengers, each day and every day.
“We have created a strong foundation for the new operators to build on.
“During the months ahead we will continue to work with West Midlands Trains, the Department for Transport and all our stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition into the new franchise.”