Tamworth’s rail passengers who travel on the West Coast line between London Euston and Crewe will get new longer trains with more seats and more space as nearly £1 billion is invested in services on the West Midlands network.
There will be 400 new carriages rolled out by 2021 and space for an extra 85,000 passengers on rush hour services in Birmingham and London, with the longer trains providing extra seats and space for passengers.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced West Midlands Trains Ltd has been awarded the contract to run the West Midlands rail franchise, which is currently held by London Midland, from December.
Under the deal with West Midlands Trains Ltd (a joint venture between Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co Ltd) to run the West Midlands franchise, passengers will get:
- free wi-fi on all main line services by the end of 2019
- for the first time compensation if services are delayed by more than 15 minutes
- improved access for those requiring extra assistance, including disabled people
Smart ticketing and live passenger information will also be rolled out under the deal, as part of a package of reforms that will improve journeys for passengers.
The franchise covers services across the West Midlands, as well as trains from London Euston to Crewe and from Liverpool to Birmingham.
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.
“We are improving the whole travelling experience with live train crowding information, compensation for people delayed by 15 minutes or more, smart ticketing and better value tickets for part-time workers.
“This shows we are delivering on our commitment to build a railway that works for everyone.”
Dominic Booth, Managing Director of Abellio UK, said, “We are delighted to have been announced as preferred bidder for the West Midlands franchise, driving growth in one of the most exciting regions in the country. We will be investing nearly £1 billion into the network, delivering new trains, better stations and a whole host of other benefits for passengers.
“The trains running only in the West Midlands area will be jointly managed by the Department for Transport and West Midlands Rail (WMR), a consortium of 16 local councils.”