London Midland loses franchise

West Midlands Trains Ltd – a joint venture between Dutch company Abellio, and Japanese duo East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co – has been awarded the rights to the West Midlands railway network from later this year.

The new operator has promised to invest £1 billion in the network, including new carriages and additional services to alleviate congestion on a variety of lines as well as new direct rush-hour services between London and Walsall.

The main changes that our stations will see are
1. Trains to/from London and North West will be extended from 4 to 8 coahces
2. Trains will now direct between Stafford and Stoke instead of via Stoke
3. Refunds if trains are more than 15 mins late
4. Free wifi
5. The likelihood of additional services at either end of the day
6. An additional hourly service between Nuneaton and Coventry giving a half hourly service during the week. Three trains an hour on Saturdays. This is subject to a new platform being constructed at Coventry

The new Franchise will take over from 10th December.

DfT release West Coast Partnership prospectus

The Department for Transport (DfT) have published a prospectus for the forthcoming West Coast Partnership. This will be the new franchise which will combine the existing West Coast main line services with those of High Speed Rail, and is due to start in April 2019.
The document is thin on detail, but it does say that the new franchisee will be expected to “maintain and improve” the existing West Coast services, along with passenger facilities and a simplified fares system. You can access the prospectus using this link