West Midlands Trains Ltd (WMT), is a joint venture, owned by Abellio and its partners for the bid, Mitsui and East Japan Railway Company (JR East), has been announced as the preferred bidder to run the next West Midlands rail franchise from 10 December 2017.
Over the next nine years, WMT will deliver nearly £1bn into the region with £700m of this going into new and refurbished trains. This investment will bring significant improvements to the network. By the end of the franchise, it will have created space for 85,000 more passengers to travel to London and Birmingham during rush hour, with significantly improved stations and the widespread introduction of smart ticketing. Dominic Booth, Managing Director of Abellio UK, said: “We are delighted to have been announced as the winning bidder for the West Midlands franchise, driving growth in one of the most exciting regions in the country. We will be investing nearly £1bn into the network, delivering new trains, better stations and a whole host of other benefits for passengers.”
Key improvements to be delivered by the new franchise include:
This announcement is also notable for being the first time that any Japanese company has been successful in a bid for a rail franchise. Mitsui is a global conglomerate with interests across many different sectors, including rail. JR East runs rail services in Japan, transporting 17 million people a day and runs the busiest rail station in the world in Tokyo.
Congratulations to Abellio on winning the West Midlands Rail Franchise. We are proud to have supported the company in the preparation of its tender.