A Dutch and Japanese consortium has won the battle to run key Birmingham rail services, including the Cross City Line, until 2026 it has been announced.
West Midlands Train Ltd, a consortium of Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsuii & Co Ltd, has pledged £1 billion investment in services across the region in its bid.
Key elements of the bid include free wi-fi on all services, 20,000 extra seats for rush hour passengers in Birmingham and 100 new carriages on an extended Cross City Line. West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said:
“We want to see a new golden era for our local trains and today’s announcement is an important step towards that. Having the ability to use our local knowledge and understanding to shape what West Midlands Trains will deliver for passengers and businesses has been a real game changer.
“When it comes to our local train services we have not had this level of local influence and management before and it fits with the wider powers and responsibilities currently being transferred from Whitehall to the West Midlands.
Residents with low level mental illnesses or long-term physical health conditions in Dudley are being urged to sign-up to take part in a new pilot that aims to support people to get back into employment.