Abellio wins West Midlands franchise

Class 172 Stourbridge Jn RT v6-1 west midlands rail

Class 172 Stourbridge Jn RT v6-1 west midlands rail

A COMPANY called West Midlands Trains Ltd - which is a joint venture between Dutch firm Abellio, and the East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui and Co Ltd, both based in Japan - are to take over the running of services to and from Stratford-upon-Avon train station.

Almost £1 billion will be invested into the West Midlands rail franchise after a new consortium was awarded management of it in a deal which promised to deliver increased capacity rush-hour trains between Birmingham and London.

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

Earlier on Thursday, Go-Ahead said its joint venture, Govia, had been unsuccessful in its bid to win the new West Midlands rail franchise.

That will be one change resulting from the award of the new franchise for the West Midlands railway network, which will be introduced in December and last until March 2026.

"We have created a strong foundation for the new operators to build on".

The DfT said longer trains would provide extra seats and space for passengers.

The larger fleet will offer space for 85,000 more passengers on rush hour services, according to the DfT.

More than £60 million will be invested in station improvements including 1,000 auto parking spaces, more than 2,500 cycle parking spaces, a cycle hire scheme, new and refurbished waiting rooms and more seats at stations.

There will also be better access for other passengers and rail users including disabled people.

Govia, which runs London Midlands, is a partnership between Newcastle-upon-Tyne's Go-Ahead Group and French transport giant Keolis.

"In that time, we have delivered significant improvements across the entire network, which have seen London Midland transformed into an award-winning franchise with high levels of employee engagement and customer satisfaction". On top of this, there will be standing room for 50,000 passengers in Birmingham in the metro-style carriages referred to above.

He believes the investment will improve journeys for passengers and also boost the local economy.

Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant said: "The new West Midlands trains franchise which will replace London Midland will undoubtedly benefit commuters from Lichfield Trent Valley and Lichfield City stations with 100 new carriages on the Cross City Line and compensation if there are delays of over 15 minutes". There will be 20,000 extra seats for rush hour passengers in Birmingham, and 10,000 for people in London. We pressed for these passenger issues to be addressed in the new franchise'.

"I believe the deal secured will help create a railway that cannot only improve people's journeys but keep our economy growing and we look forward to working with West Midlands Trains in making that happen".

"Staffordshire and other local authorities in the West Midlands have played a direct role in specifying what the new franchise should deliver to make a real difference to people's lives".

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