The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that West Midlands Trains Ltd (a joint venture between Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co Ltd) has won the contract to operate the next West Midlands rail franchise.
London Midland – owned by Govia, a partnership between Go-Ahead Group and Keolis – has operated the current franchise since 2007. The new operation will begin during December 2017.
A near £1billion pound investment is promised during the coming years, including:
- 20,000 extra seats for rush hour passengers in Birmingham.
- 100 new carriages on the Cross City line
- 80 new carriages for the Snow Hill line
- Compensation if services are delayed by more than 15 minutes
- Free WiFi on all main line services
- A roll out of smart ticketing and live passenger information
- Trains and stations branded in a locally specified West Midlands Railway livery
- Increased Sunday services on the Snow Hill line with the number of trains per hour between Snow Hill and Stourbridge Junction increasing from two to six
- Increased Sunday service on the Stourbridge Shuttle
In the short-term, there will be no changes to the Stourbridge Shuttle and local Snow Hill line services.
The Stourbridge Shuttle is operated by Pre Metro Operations Ltd, in partnership with London Midland. As part of the improvements detailed above, we are meeting with the new franchise holders as part of the handover process.