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London Midland loses rail franchise
11 August 2017, 01:49 | Joann Bryant
Abellio already runs services in Scotland Merseyside and East Anglia
Newcastle-headquartered transport giant Go-Ahead Group has expressed its disappointment after its joint venture subsidiary was unsuccessful in its bid to win the new West Midlands rail franchise.
The government has awarded the West Midlands rail franchise to a new consortium instead of the current holder London Midland.
Rail passengers are expected to be able to look forward to new longer trains with more seats and more space, along with a number of other, new benefits, following a £1billion investment in services on the West Midlands network.
Yesterday Go Ahead said it was disappointed to lose the West Midlands contract, which it ran with partner Keolis under the name Govia, claiming it had "delivered significant improvements".
Changes on the Stratford to Birmingham line that will be introduced by Abellio will include earlier first services, additional rush hour services, two trains an hour on Sunday but not until 2021, and refurbished carriages.
"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".
"West Midlands Trains will also conduct feasibility studies into the opening of new stations in the West Midlands and I will be pressing for the opening of the Line from Lichfield Trent Valley to Burton for passenger traffic and the construction of a station at Alrewas to serve the National Memorial Arboretum and village of Alrewas".
West Midlands mayor Andy Street said: "We want to see a new golden era for our local trains and today's announcement is an important step towards that". This is to ensure the new franchise will be responsive to regional needs.
At least three extra services an hour will be introduced at Wolverhampton railway station to Stoke, Shrewsbury and Birmingham by December next year under bold new plans.
By the end of 2019 all main line services will be fitted with free wi-fi for passengers, while the new franchise holder will offer 25 per cent compensation to passengers when services are more than 15 minutes late.
London Midland has been operating West Midlands services since 2007, with the franchise due to expire in 2015.
"We have created a strong foundation for the new operators to build on".
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.
"London Midland and its people have been part of our group's rail business for ten years". We pressed for these passenger issues to be addressed in the new franchise'.
"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".
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