£680 million investment in new trains welcomed

A £680 million order for new trains has been welcomed by West Midlands Rail (WMR), the consortium of 16 local councils set up to jointly manage the region's rail services.  

The trains, which will be made up of 413 carriages, have been ordered by West Midlands Trains, the company that will run local services on behalf of WMR and the Department for Transport (DfT) from this December onwards.  

West Midlands Trains, which is made up of Abellio, JR East and Mitsui, has selected Bombardier Trains and Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) to manufacture 107 new trains for the next West Midlands franchise.  

The order is part of a near £1bn investment into the franchise that Abellio, JR East and Mitsui will be overseeing in the coming years.  

The new trains will be branded with new West Midlands Rail livery.

Cllr Roger Lawrence, chair of WMR and transport lead on the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), said: "This is a very significant investment in new trains that will bring more space, more services and improved comfort for passengers.  

"We know a key issue for passengers is overcrowding at peak times so we are pleased that these new carriages will provide space for an extra 85,000 passengers on rush hour services into Birmingham and London.  

"That should make a significant difference for daily commuters in particular."  

A total of 333 of the new trains, which will feature air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and in-seat power sockets provided as standard, will be produced by Bombardier at its facility in Derby.  

CAF will produce 80 diesel carriages to provide dedicated services for journeys to towns and cities around Birmingham.  

The new trains will be essential for delivery of the increased capacity and improved journey times required by WMR and the DfT under the new franchise which will see West Midlands Trains operate local services until March 2026.  

Dominic Booth, managing director of Abellio UK, said: "It is great news that so many of these trains will be produced in the UK.  

"As a company, we are committed to working with the government to strengthen the British economy and deliver thousands of high-quality jobs over the coming years."