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West Midlands rail adds 20,000 passenger capacity

Birmingham New Street

Extra capacity for 20,000 additional passengers will be added on the London-Birmingham rail route with a new operator to take over the franchise in October 2017.

Rail minister Paul Maynard announced the planned capacity expansion under the terms for a new franchise on the network.

The capacity increase will accommodate 20,000 more passengers on the Birmingham-London line in the morning by using longer trains.

Main line services will be fitted with free Wi-Fi by late 2019.

There will also be an extra 300 services on Sundays on the franchise by 2021. Evening services from Birmingham to other towns in the West Midlands will be increased. An hourly service from Birmingham to Wolverhampton and Crewe via Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent will be introduced.

An invitation to tender has been issued for the new services.

London and West Midlands Railway and West Midlands Trains with East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co have been shortlisted as bidders for the franchise.

The successful bidder must provide at least 60 apprenticeships on the franchise.

“We are making the biggest investment in the railways since the Victorian era and today marks a key step forward in giving passengers better journeys across the West Midlands and beyond,” said Maynard.

“This franchise serves both commuters and long distance passengers and these benefits will deliver extra and smoother journeys for customers using these services.”




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