The Go-Ahead Group today welcomes the announcement by the Department for Transport (DfT) that its 65% owned train operating company, London Midland, will continue to run the West Midlands franchise until October 2017.
A direct award contract has been agreed which includes introducing schemes to benefit passengers throughout the duration of the new franchise which runs from April 2016 to October 2017.
David Brown, The Go-Ahead Group chief executive, said:
“We’re pleased that the government has put its confidence in London Midland to continue operating the West Midlands franchise and also deliver further enhancements for passengers such as extra train services, free Wifi, and additional car parking at busy stations. The plans offer benefits for passengers, taxpayers and the local communities that are served.”
The highlights over the course of the new franchise include:
- Two extra evening services every weekday from London to the Trent Valley, providing an additional 2,300 seats from Euston each week
- Earlier services to central Birmingham on Sunday mornings from surrounding towns including Rugby and Lichfield, with new Sunday services from Longbridge, Dorridge and Whitlocks End providing more than 900 extra seats every week, and benefit shoppers, workers and local businesses
- Free WiFi on long-distance services between London Euston, Northampton, Birmingham, Crewe, Stoke and Liverpool, with the aim that this will be free on all services when the next fully-competed franchise starts
- An extra daily return service on the Abbey line, between Watford Junction and St Albans Abbey, providing an extra 3,400 seats every week
- New and upgraded ticket machines at selected stations, with new ‘click and collect’ and contactless payment options
- More than 400 extra car parking spaces across three stations – Watford, Hemel Hempstead and Tamworth
- New targets to improve customer satisfaction and train punctuality