JR East to operate British rail franchise

Govia will continue to operate the franchise until December

The owner of embattled Southern Railway has lost a separate rail franchise in the West Midlands after 10 years.

West Midlands Trains, a joint venture between Dutch firm Abellio and Japanese partners will take over the West Midlands rail franchise in December.

The routes between London, the West Midlands and Liverpool are set to receive an investment of nearly £1 billion, said the Department for Transport.

The DfT said longer trains would provide extra seats and space for passengers.

The Department for Transport said the decision would mean £1bn invested in services and that passengers would see new, longer trains, free Wi-Fi on all mainline services and compensation if services are delayed by more than 15 minutes.

Smart ticketing will be rolled out across the network and more than 800 new digital information screens will be installed at 150 stations to provide real-time information, with a new mobile phone app providing live information on train loading to help passengers avoid the most crowded services.

"We are pleased to have the opportunity to work in partnership with the NTA to deliver a vital service to people living and working in and around Dublin".

Cleaner trains, improved services and more space to grab a seat - passengers have given their wish list to new rail operators.

Dominic Booth, Abellio UK managing director, 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 almost £1bn into the network, delivering new trains, better stations and a whole host of other benefits for passengers".

The West Midlands franchise is now operated by London Midland, a joint venture between Go-Ahead (65%) and Keolis (35%).

ABELLIO has won the West Midlands franchise, ending a decade of control by Govia.

Almost £1 billion will be invested into the West Midlands rail franchise after a new consortium was awarded management of it in a deal which promised to deliver increased capacity rush-hour trains between Birmingham and London.

The news sent shares in Go-Ahead, which have been depressed for several months over the troubled Southern franchise, down 49p to £17.53... This approach is already producing high levels of customer satisfaction.

West Midlands mayor Andy Street said: 'Having the ability to use our local knowledge and understanding to shape what West Midlands trains will deliver for passengers and businesses has been a real game changer.

Shortly before Christmas the familiar green and black London Midland trains which carry many passengers from Shrewsbury, Telford and the smaller towns and villages in the east of the county into the urban sprawl of the West Midlands will disappear. The West Midlands network of trains and infrastructure will be run by a local team.

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