Southern owner loses West Midlands rail franchise after 10 years

A London Midland train at Telford Central

The franchise was awarded to a joint venture between Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Misui and Co Ltd. Govia will continue to run the trains until December this year.

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

Free Wi-Fi will be introduced on all mainline services by the end of 2019 and passengers will receive 25%compensation for delays exceeding 15 minutes.

Furthermore, around £60m will be invested on station improvements across the area, including 1,000 new vehicle parking spaces, 2,500 cycle spaces, a cycle hire scheme, new and refurbished waiting rooms, more seats at stations and improved access for those with mobility problems.

Under the plans of the new franchise there will be more than 180 new train carriages for the West Midlands, creating more space for people.

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.

He said: "The deal announced today with West Midlands Trains Ltd can help ensure we have a network that can better support the regional economy while delivering services that are focused on the needs of passengers".

By 2021 West Midlands Trains will deploy 225 new EMU cars on West Coast Main Line services, 100 new EMU cars on Birmingham's Cross-City Line, which will be extended to Bromsgrove next year, and 80 new DMU cars on suburban services from Birmingham Snow Hill.

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Transport secretary Chris Grayling 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".

There will be two morning and two evening rush hour direct services between Walsall and London from December 2018, "helping to unlock economic growth in the region".

'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'.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: "We want to see a new golden era for our local trains and today's announcement is an important step towards that".

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

It added that smart ticketing and live passenger information will rolled out under the deal.

"I believe this deal 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".

London Midland believes a new long-term franchise means further investment can now be made in the region's rail network.

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