The consortium of local councils set up to manage rail services in the West Midlands has welcomed a £680m order for new trains, most of which will be built in the UK.
West Midlands Trains, which will run services on behalf of West Midlands Rail (WMR) and the Department for Transport from December, has ordered 107 new trains totalling 413 carriages.
The incoming franchise holder, which is made up of Abellio, JR East and Mitsui, has selected Bombardier Trains and Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) to manufacture the rolling stock, which will be branded with new WMR livery.
The order is part of a near £1bn investment into the franchise, which runs until 2026.
Cllr Roger Lawrence, chair of WMR and transport lead on the West Midlands Combined Authority, said: ‘This is a very significant investment in new trains that will bring more space, more services and improved comfort for passengers.
‘We know a key issue for passengers is overcrowding at peak times so we are pleased that these new carriages will provide space for an extra 85,000 passengers on rush hour services into Birmingham and London.’
A total of 333 of the new carriages, which will feature air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and in-seat power sockets provided as standard, will be produced by Bombardier at its facility in Derby.
CAF will produce 80 diesel carriages to provide dedicated services for journeys to towns and cities around Birmingham.
Dominic Booth, managing director of Abellio UK, said: ‘It is great news that so many of these trains will be produced in the UK.
‘As a company, we are committed to working with the government to strengthen the British economy and deliver thousands of high quality jobs over the coming years.’