Train services in the West Midlands are set to be increased and improved, following a recently announced takeover.
The franchise, currently operated by London Midland, will be taken over by West Midlands Trains Limited in December and will be run by the company for the next ten years. The company is a joint venture between Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co Ltd.
It will have responsibility of trains operating between Coventry, Solihull, Leamington Spa, and the new station planned for Kenilworth.
As well as pledging a £1 billion investment, other improvements mentioned in the franchise agreement include 20,000 more seats for passengers in rush-hour services in and out of Birmingham and free WiFi on all main line services.
West Midlands mayor Andy Street commented: “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.
“The result of this influence is that we will see West Midlands Trains deliver more of the services that passengers want including earlier and later weekday services and more trains on Sundays.
“I believe this deal for the West Midlands will not only improve people’s journeys but keep our economy growing and we look forward to working with West Midlands Trains in making that happen.”