New trains for West Midlands (posted 17.10.17)West Midlands Trains, who will run the trains currently operated by London Midland from 10 December, have ordered over 100 new trains. There will be 45 new 5-car electric trains for longer distance services such as London to Birmingham and Crewe. these trains will be capable of running at 110 mph. Other new electric trains will be 36 3-car electric trains for Metro services, principally the Cross City line in Birmingham. There will also be 26 new diesel trains for non-electrified routes such as those serving Birmingham Moor Street and Snow Hill stations. these will be a mixture of 2-car and 4-car trains. For further details see the Railnews news item.
GoVia to lose London Midland franchise (posted 13.08.17)GoVia, the operator of London Midland, are to lose the franchise from December. The new operator will be West Midlands Trains Ltd, a consortium of companies comprising Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui. General improvements promised include:
- free wi-fi on all main line services by the end of 2019
- compensation if services are delayed by 15 minutes or more
- improved access for those requiring extra assistance, including disabled people
- 400 new or refurbished carriages
- £60 million invested in station improvments.
- additional trains between Rugby and Birmingham on Mondays to Fridays by December 2018
- later last train from Birmingham to Rugby and Northampton on Mondays to Fridays by December 2018
- Sunday frequency between Birmingham, Rugby and Northampton increases from 1 to 2 services an hour by May 2021
- Trent Valley line trains will run direct from Stafford to Crewe, reducing journey times, by December 2018
- a later last train from London Euston to Rugby and Crewe, serving Trent Valley line stations, on Mondays to Saturdays by December 2018
- an earlier first train on Sundays from Crewe and Trent Valley line stations to Rugby and London Euston by May 2021.
Major engineering work at Liverpool Lime Street from 30 September until 22 October (posted 04.08.17)A major capacity upgrade is be taking place at Liverpool Lime Street. This project will provide an additional platform and upgraded signalling to allow more trains to use the station. Phase One of this work will take place from 30th September until 22 October, both dates inclusive. During this time Liverpool Lime Street station will be closed except for a limited service of a few Northern Rail trains on some days. Both Virgin and London Midland services will terminate at Liverpool South Parkway throughout this period, with passengers continuing their journeys into central Liverpool by Merseyrail services. This means that the two through Virgin trains from Rugby to Liverpool at 18.22 and19.22 on Monday to Friday evenings will terminate instead at Liverpool South Parkway. Similarly the 06.51 and 22.31 arrivals at Rugby from Liverpool will start their journeys at Liverpool South Parkway. Further details of this project are available on the special page on the National Rail website.
London Midland franchise extended until December (updated 29.08.17)London Midland have announced that the DfT have extended their franchise "until at least December". The DfT have postponed the start of the new contract for at least eight weeks until 10 December. Although no reason has been given for the delay, we suspect the DfT will say the general election has caused a delay to franchising awards. This means that London Midland will continue to operate their existing train services until 10 December, when the new franchise awarded to West Midlands Trains will commence (see separate story). For further details see the London Midland press release.
Three bidders shortlisted for West Coast partnership (posted 22.06.17)The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that it has shortlisted three bidders for the West Coast partnership franchise. The successful bidder will run train services on the existing West Coast main line and the first stage of the new high speed line HS2. The three shortlisted bidders are are:
- First Trenitalia West Coast Ltd, a joint venture between First Rail Holdings Ltd and Trenitalia SpA
- MTR West Coast Partnership Ltd, a joint venture between MTR Corporation (UK) Ltd and Guangshen Railway Company, with the following key sub-contractors:
- Deloitte MCS Ltd
- Panasonic Systems Europe
- Snowfall AB
- Trainline.com Ltd
- WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff
- West Coast Partnership Ltd, a joint venture between Stagecoach Group plc, Virgin Holdings Ltd and SNCF C3.