The Department for Transport’s (DfT) drive to improve rail services for passengers in the UK continues with a £1 billion investment in the West Midlands network.
Under the new investment, the network will have better services and stations, with business leaders or employees travelling throughout the Midlands, north west and London all benefiting from the changes.
By 2021, it is hoped 400 new carriages will be in use, providing space on the network for a further 85,000 passengers on rush hour trains between Birmingham and London.
West Midlands Trains Ltd is the joint venture between Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co Ltd which has been tasked with running the West Midlands franchise.
Covering trains from London Euston to Crew and from Liverpool to Birmingham, as well as across the West Midlands, the new services will provide free wifi on main line services by the end of 2019 and there will be compensation available if services are delayed by more than 15 minutes.
This is significant because it makes it easier to conduct business for people on the move, improving productivity for many companies, and any delays will be sufficiently compensated.
The £1 billion investment in the West Midlands network will deliver a number of key benefits. More modern trains will be introduced, with the West Midlands, London and the north west all benefiting form this. It will limit the impact of delays.
Approximately 150 stations will see in excess of 800 digital information screens installed, while £70 million is being set aside to spend on new and existing depots.
Elsewhere, more than £60 million will be invested on station improvements including better parking facilities as well as new and refurbished waiting rooms.
It continues the drive by the DfT to improve rail services across the UK, with billions of pounds already set aside to enhance the network.
Work on this contract will commence before the end of the year and run until March 2026.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, described this announcement as the start of a “golden era.”
He said: “We want to see a new golden era for our local trains and today’s announcement is an important step towards that.
“I believe the deal secured will help create a railway that can not only improve people’s journeys but keep our economy growing.”