Monday, 5 September 2016

West Midlands Rail news

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
Rail passengers across the West Midlands network are set for better journeys with a host of extra services and benefits under plans announced today (30 August 2016) by Rail Minister Paul Maynard.
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
The current franchise is operated by London Midland and covers a combination of commuting and long-distance services spanning the Midlands, south-east and north-west as well as services to London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street.
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
Bidders for the West Midlands franchise have until 29 November 2016 to submit their bids, with the new operator planned to take over the franchise in October 2017.