Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and train operator London Midland have signed a partnership deal, promising enhanced services and passenger benefits, including easier multi-modal journeys.
TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), and London Midland have agreed a 45-point plan, which they say will ‘build on past successes and deliver further local improvements for customers in the region’.
London Midland Class 350 travelling through Watford Junction
The agreement includes proposals to develop a delivery plan for enhanced services on the Chase Line following electrification, pledges to work together to fully integrate the Midland Metro tram line at Birmingham New Street station, and plans to maximise the opportunities from HS2.
Cllr Roger Lawrence, transport lead for the WMCA, said: ‘Demand for rail services is as high as it has ever been so it is crucial we work together to develop and extract the maximum benefits from the network for the passenger.
‘I am confident this joint agreement will be good news for passengers as it cements the good work that has already been done and sets out the foundations of further improvements.’
The two organisations have also agreed to collaborate to support the proposed redevelopment of Wolverhampton Station interchange and on identifying suitable sites to expand park and ride at stations.
They have also agreed to work together to deliver ‘an integrated passenger information approach’, to make it easier for passengers to plan and make multi-modal journeys.
This will include information at stations for staff to utilise via mobile or tablet devices and for passengers travelling on Class 350 trains to make ‘the most effective use of the WiFi on board’.
London Midland has also promised improved ticket machines at stations and enhanced CCTV on board trains.
London Midland managing director Patrick Verwer said: ‘We have a strong history of working in partnership in the West Midlands. The improvements we are planning to introduce over the next 15 months are based on what local people have said are important to them.’
The new agreement follows the Transforming Rail Travel partnership agreed between London Midland and TfWM’s predecessor Centro in 2011.
London Midland holds the franchise to operate local rail services in the region until October 2017. This may be extended for up to 12 months, although the Department for Transport has already shortlisted three firms for the new franchise including Govia, which owns London Midland.