Better journeys on the way for rail passengers across the West Midlands
- extra capacity for 20,000 additional passengers in London and Birmingham at peak times and wide range of new services to be introduced
- new operator expected to take over the franchise in October 2017
- franchise bidders must set out how they will deliver more trains and more space for passengers
Bidders for the new franchise will be required to deliver hundreds of extra services, new ticketing options and much increased capacity. The publication of the invitation to tender details the minimum level of improvements bidders hoping to secure the next franchise will need to include in their detailed proposals.
Benefits will include:
- space for more than 20,000 additional passengers to travel into London and Birmingham in the morning peak though the introduction of longer trains
- more than 300 extra Sunday services across the franchise by 2021, including 50 new services in each direction between Birmingham and Longbridge and the same between Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield
- more evening services from Birmingham to Lichfield City, Bromsgrove, Kidderminster, Whitlocks End and Dorridge and later Saturday last services from Birmingham to Wolverhampton, Bromsgrove and Liverpool
- a new hourly service from Birmingham and Wolverhampton to Crewe via Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent
- free Wi-Fi on all main line services by the end of 2019
- new ticket options for part time travellers which provide better value options for customers who travel fewer than 5 days a week
- new direct peak time services between Walsall and London
West Midlands Rail Ltd (WMR), which has been set up by the 14 Metropolitan, Shire and Unitary authorities from across the wider West Midlands, has worked collaboratively with the Department for Transport (DfT) to design, specify and manage the new franchise.
Bidders are encouraged to include proposals for additional benefits over and above the minimum requirements published today. It follows an extensive public consultation which attracted almost 2000 responses.
The shortlisted bidders for the franchise are:
- London and West Midlands Railway Limited, a subsidiary of Govia Limited (a joint venture between Keolis and Go-Ahead Group)
- West Midlands Trains Limited, currently a wholly owned subsidiary of Abellio Transport Group Limited with East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co Limited as minority partners