Rail News

DfT Announces the Winner of the West Midlands Franchise

The Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded the West Midlands franchise to West Midlands Trains Ltd, a joint venture between Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co Ltd.

Rail passengers 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.

West Midlands Franchise
© West Midlands Rail

Better Services for Passengers

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 wifi 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
Related Post:  BLS Will Not Run Long-Distance Services in 2020 Due to SBB Complaint

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.

West Midlands

There will be more than 180 new train carriages for the West Midlands, creating more space for people.

This includes investment in 100 new carriages on the Cross City line and 80 new carriages for the Snow Hill line, offering longer and more spacious services.

The carriages for the Cross City line will offer metro-style services with increased space to carry more passengers, and wider doors for quicker access.

Related Post:  Countdown to Return of Rail Industry’s Leading Showcase


Passengers on London services will benefit from 225 brand new carriages, with all other carriages being completely refurbished.

People travelling between Northampton and Euston and on the Abbey Line between St Albans Abbey and Watford Junction will be able to pay for their travel with a smart card for the first time.


New trains will be arriving in the north-west on the Liverpool to Birmingham line, which passes through Crewe and Winsford. These are longer and have more seats for passengers than the existing trains.

A later last train from Liverpool to Birmingham on a Saturday, departing at least 45 minutes later.

Enhanced Sunday services between Birmingham and Liverpool from December 2021 increasing from one train per hour to 2 trains per hour.

Related Post:  Axminster Carpets will be at UK’s premier rail exhibition: Railtex

A new Sunday service for Acton Bridge from May 2021.

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.

Original article © Department for Transport.


Tags in this story

News categories

    20 May 2019
    Industry Insider Week 20 – 12 Must-Read Rail Stories
    03 May 2019
    Axminster Carpets will be at UK’s premier rail exhibition: Railtex
    29 Apr 2019
    Industry Insider Week 17 – 8 Must-Read Rail News Stories
    24 Apr 2019
    Countdown to Return of Rail Industry’s Leading Showcase
    24 Aug 2018
    ScotRail: First of 26 Upgraded InterCity Trains Arrives in Edinburgh
    26 Jun 2018
    UK: ScotRail Appoints First Female Engineering Director
    15 May 2018
    Department for Transport and Network Rail Announce Digital Railway Strategy
    20 Mar 2018
    Government Invites Third Parties to Invest in the UK Rail Network
    Subscribe to Railway-News
    Get the latest contract alerts and Railway News emailed directly to your inbox.

    We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously.

    Please tick to confirm you would like to receive emails we think may be of interest to you. We sometimes tailor the content you see to what we think you'll find interesting, and so monitor your interaction with our website and email content (find out more).