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Train companies shortlisted for West Midlands rail franchise

Train companies shortlisted for West Midlands rail franchise

🕔07.Apr 2016

Three train companies have been shortlisted to win a multi-million pound franchise to run rail services in the West Midlands, the Department for Transport announced today.

They include London Midland, the current operator, who was recently given an extension to its contract allowing it to continue until October 2017.

The shortlisted bidders are:

  • London and West Midlands Railway Limited (London Midland), a subsidiary of Govia Limited (a joint venture between Keolis and Go-Ahead Group).
  • West Midlands Trains Limited, currently a wholly owned subsidiary of Abellio Transport Group Limited with East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co Ltd as minority partners.
  • MTR Corporation (West Midlands) Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of MTR Corporation (UK) Limited.

Rail Minister, Claire Perry said:

The West Midlands franchise serves both commuters and long distance passengers and we are confident these companies will create high quality bids that can deliver better journeys for all.

Today’s announcement marks a key step forward in giving passengers improved services across the region and beyond.

The preponderance of foreign companies bidding for the franchise did not impress rail union the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA).

General Secretary Manuel Cortes said:

Look behind the names of the companies bidding for the West Midland rail franchise and you see the real story of Britain’s railways.

Abeilio is Dutch state owned rail company, Keolis is a subsidiary of French national company SNCF, Mitsui is Japanese and MTR is Chinese.

So what we have here is the obscene spectacle of this Tory government opposing the British public’s overwhelming demand to own our own railway companies whilst encouraging  foreign ownership from practically any other country that wants to make a bid

Foreign companies are here because they can make huge profits which they use to subsidise fares in France, in Holland, in China and now the Japanese are looking to get a share of the profit booty to be made here.

The new operator is due to take over the franchise in October 2017, with the contract award expected to be made in June 2017.

The current franchise covers a combination of commuting and long-distance services spanning the Midlands, south east and north west as well services to London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street.

The recent contract extension granted to London Midland depended on the company delivering a £13 million package of improvements including two extra evening services each weekday from London Euston to the Trent Valley, extra Sunday morning services in the Birmingham area, free WiFi on long-distance services and more parking at stations.

London Midland will be expected to offer an additional 6,600 seats a week and work with the Smart Cities Partnership to introduce smart ticketing on trains, improving and extending the existing Swift smartcard scheme.

The DfT has also introduced new targets to improve punctuality and cleanliness for all three of the companies bidding for the post-2017 franchise.

The Department for Transport also announced today the joint consortium of East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co Ltd has been awarded a new Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) Passport.

The consortium joins the department’s list of ‘passport holders’ who are eligible to express an interest in all upcoming rail franchise competitions for the next 4 years.

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