West Midlands Rail, the
company set up by local authorities to improve passenger services,
today (Thursday April 7) welcomed news that three operators have
been shortlisted to run the region's trains from 2017
- London and West Midlands Railway Limited, a subsidiary of Govia
Limited (a jointventure between Keolis and Go-Ahead Group)
- West Midlands Trains Limited, currently a wholly owned
subsidiary of AbellioTransport Group Limited with East Japan
Railway Company and Mitsui & Co Ltd as minority partners
- MTR Corporation (West Midlands) Limited, a wholly owned
subsidiary of MTR Corporation (UK) Limited
The operators will now
compete to win the forthcoming franchise which will also mark the
start of a new era in which more responsibility for local services
will lie in local hands.
The new franchise will
see West Midlands Rail Ltd (WMR), which was set up last year by 14
Metropolitan, Shire and Unitary authorities from across the wider
West Midlands, working with the Department for Transport (DfT) to
manage the new franchise within the West
Midlands region. At
present responsibility rests solely with the Government.
The franchise is
expected to be awarded in June 2017 and start in October of that
year. The existing franchise is operated by London Midland.
WMR's Programme Direct
or, Malcolm Holmes, said: "We look forward to working with the DfT
and the three bidders on shaping our local rail services for the
"The successful train
operator will be working in an exciting new environment in which
West Midlands will have
real influence and responsibility over its local services.
"We believe this
partnership offers a major opportunity for the West Midlands to
develop the network in a way that underpins economic growth, job
creation and carbon reduction while delivering significant benefits
for passengers. This shortlist of large and well established
companies shows that train operators are ready and willing to step
up to the plate and meet that challenge."
Rail Minister Claire
Perry added: "The West Midlands
franchise serves both commuters
and long distance passengers and we are confident these companies
will create high quality bids that can deliver better journeys for
marks a key step forward in giving passengers improved services
across the region and beyond."
The government and West
Midlands Rail expect the next operator of the franchise to provide
significantly better journeys for passengers, with measures to
tackle overcrowding and reduce delays and cancellations as well as
bringing in benefits such as free on board Wi-Fi.
The operator will also
be expected to support planned infrastructure improvements
the next franchise,
including the completion of the Rugeley Trent Valley to
upgrades at Birmingham, and enabling works at London Euston for
As part of the
government's commitment to ensure local passengers are at the heart
rail network by
devolving power to those that know their economies and
rs best, the new
franchise will also lay the foundations for the region's rail
services to be increasingly managed locally through West Midlands
Rail, rather than by central government.
Today's announcement of
the shortlist follows a 14 week public consultation in which the
DfT and WMR asked people to give their views on what they wanted to
see delivered under the next franchise.
More information from Steve
Swingler on 0121 214 7073 / 07887 794241 /
firstname.lastname@example.org or James Gosling, Senior Press Officer
- Rail, Department for Transport, 0207 944 4343
Notes to Editors:
- West Midlands Rail is made up of Birmingham City Council,
Coventry City Council, Dudley MBC, Herefordshire Council,
Northamptonshire County Council, Sandwell MBC, Shropshire Council,
Solihull MBC, Staffordshire County Council, Telford and Wrekin
Council, Walsall MBC, Warwickshire County Council, Wolverhampton
City Council and Worcestershire County Council.
- West Midlands Rail Ltd will be responsible for overseeing local
rail services inpartnership with the Department for Transport under
the next franchise starting in 2017.