New West Midlands Trains franchise will undoubtedly benefit passengers, says Lichfield MP

Govia will continue to operate the franchise until December

A COMPANY called West Midlands Trains Ltd - which is a joint venture between Dutch firm Abellio, and the East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui and Co Ltd, both based in Japan - are to take over the running of services to and from Stratford-upon-Avon train station.

The government has awarded the West Midlands rail franchise to a new consortium instead of the current holder London Midland.

New trains with more seats and more space as almost £1 billion is invested in services on the West Midlands network.

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.

Passengers have been promised new, longer trains with more seats and space as almost £1 billion is invested in services on the network.

In announcing the decision, the DfT said passengers will get new, longer trains with more seats and more space.

Compensation if services are delayed by more than 15 minutes.

The West Coast Main Line includes our services to and from London Euston, as well as the Abbey Line.

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.

While the names of old and new operators suggest local companies, the move actually sees one worldwide consortium replace another.

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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.

The franchise now operates over 1,300 services every weekday and serves 170 stations (directly managing 145), and is now operated by London Midland, owned by Govia - a partnership between Go-Ahead (65%) and Keolis (35%).

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street says the huge cash injection will help create "a new golden era" for the region's trains.

Standing room for 50,000 extra passengers travelling to and from Birmingham in "metro style" carriages.

20,000 more rush hour seats from Birmingham and 10,000 from London.

The Department for Transport promised that, under the new West Midlands operators, 400 new carriages would be rolled out by 2021 and there would be space for an extra 85,000 passengers on rush-hour services in Birmingham and London.

"Staffordshire and other local authorities in the West Midlands have played a direct role in specifying what the new franchise should deliver to make a real difference to people's lives".

"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".

The West Midlands franchise provides a combination of commuting, regional and longer-distance services in the West Midlands and on the West Coast Main Line.

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