2nd Jul, 2022

West Midlands trains to get £680m investment ahead of new franchise

A £680million investment in new trains for the region has been announced by West Midlands Trains, which is set to take over the franchise to run services from London Midland.

The significant 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, which includes Coventry and Solihull councils.

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

It services will cover the Solihull, Coventry and Birmingham region, Warwickshire towns and further afield.

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

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

Councillor 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.”

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