New rail franchise winner announced
Rail passengers are set for more frequent services with new trains and extra seats after almost £1 billion investment in the West Midlands network. The funding is part of the new rail franchise announced today (August 10) that will see West Midlands Trains Ltd (a joint venture between Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co Ltd) run the region’s rail services from December 2017 until March 2026.
The franchise agreement contains improvements such as more services and space for passengers to help stimulate and support further economic growth and jobs across the West Midlands.
The franchise covers services across the West Midlands, as well as trains from London Euston to Crewe and from Liverpool to Birmingham. Trains which operate only in the West Midlands area will be jointly managed by the Department for Transport (DfT) and West Midlands Rail (WMR), the consortium of 16 local councils. Benefits will include:
- 20,000 extra seats for rush hour passengers in Birmingham
- 100 new carriages on the Cross City line
- 80 new carriages for the Snow Hill line
- Compensation if services are delayed by more than 15 minutes
- Free WiFi on all main line services
- A roll out of smart ticketing and live passenger information
- Trains and stations branded in a new West Midlands Railway livery
Around £60m will be invested on station improvements across the region, delivering 1,000 new car park spaces, 2,500 cycle parking spaces, a cycle hire scheme, new and refurbished waiting rooms and more seats at stations. There will also be improved access for those requiring extra assistance, including disabled people.
Feasibility studies will also be undertaken for the development of new stations in the West Midlands. For more details of the new rail franchise, visit: https://www.wmca.org.uk/news/mayor-welcomes-near-1-billion-rail-investment/
Mayor's 100 days' pledge success
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, celebrates his first 100 days in office on Saturday (August 12) and has substantially fulfilled his manifesto promises in advance of this milestone.
The Mayor published 10 pre-election pledges, all of which have been actioned and are moving forward in the next phase of his term of office:
- Agreed Action Plans with each of Mayoral team on transport, housing and jobs
- Launched quick congestion busting measures
- Founded Mayor’s Mentors for 1,000 young people in the West Midlands
- Visited No 10 Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister to discuss regional priorities
- Led West Midlands' businesses on a trade mission (Toronto)
- Brought Brexit Cabinet Ministers to the West Midlands for a Brexit Summit
- Held first Mayoral 'Ask Andy' sessions where questioned by the public
- Set date of the first Mayor’s Community Day of charity activities across West Midlands
- Convened a West Midlands Faith Leaders’ Summit to agree priorities
- Built Mayoral leadership team and appointed executives to key roles
Further details about each pledge will be available in the Mayor's section of the WMCA website from tomorrow (August 11): https://www.wmca.org.uk/who-we-are/
Rail proposals could bring £2bn boost
A package of proposed rail upgrades with the potential to boost the regional economy by more than £2 billion has been welcomed by West Midlands Rail (WMR). WMR is the consortium of 16 local councils which will take over the management of local commuter trains later this year, in partnership with the Government.
Network Rail’s West Midlands and Chilterns Route Study was unveiled on Friday (August 4) and WMR believes it will bring significant benefits for passengers and businesses. It includes key improvements to underpin economic growth by providing more trains and better connections between towns and cities and with the HS2 high speed rail line.
At the heart of the study is the proposed Midlands Rail Hub which includes a series of upgrades to the network around central Birmingham, allowing up to 150 extra trains per day and an extra 85,000 seats every day across the Midlands.
Views sought on bus improvements
WMCA staff who travel on buses to and from south Birmingham are being urged to take part in a major consultation on routes and services.
Working with Birmingham City Council and Transport for West Midlands, National Express West Midlands (NXWM) is asking people in the south of the city to help them improve services and tackle traffic congestion.
As part of the South Birmingham Consultation, NXWM is looking into several aspects of bus operation, including possible route chnages, re-timing traffic lights, installing bus gates and even extending bus lanes to free up traffic pinchpoints. The focus of the review is the area between Bristol Road and Warwick Road, Longbridge, Rubery, Frankley and Allens Cross.
Have your say on the consultation here: http://nxbus.co.uk/west-midlands/information/service-changes/south-birmingham-consultation
Request submitted to widen HS2 plans
The first step towards creating a new, mixed-use destination for the HS2 Interchange Station on the outskirts of Solihull was made this week, with the UK Central Solihull Urban Growth Company (UGC) asking HS2 Ltd to upgrade plans for the 350-acre Arden Cross development.
The UGC outlined the changes required to deliver the infrastructure with a new, fully-connected, urban quarter with the HS2 Interchange Station at its heart. The UGC, supported by Solihull Council and the WMCA, is the first organisation to formally propose such changes to a HS2 station site. The aim is to widen the proposed parkway-style station plans and create sustainable jobs, homes, commercial and leisure space for people who live and work in the region.
Changes range from altering bridges, moving roads and creating new landscape features to revising car park layouts, incorporating pedestrianised connections and making provisions for other future public transport links.
A decision on the proposals is expected in November's Autumn Statement.
Future meetings schedule
WMCA Board (public meeting)
- Friday 8 September - 11am
- Friday 13 October - 11am
- Friday 10 November - 11am
WMCA Programme Board (private meeting)
- Friday 11 August - 9am
- Friday 25 August - 9am
- Friday 15 September - 9am
For more information or to send content for the next WMCA news bulletin, please contact:
PR Executive, West Midlands Combined Authority
0121 214 7157
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