Council to seek early meeting with new rail franchise operator

Telford & Wrekin Council is to seek an early meeting with the new operator of the West Midlands railway network.

West Midlands Trains Ltd – a joint venture between Dutch company Abellio and Japanese duo East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co – will take over the rights to the franchise for the West Midlands network from later this year.

This includes Shropshire’s main railway line from Shrewsbury through Telford to Birmingham.

The new operator has pledged to invest a billion pounds in the network, including new carriages and additional services to alleviate congestion of a variety of lines.

Councillor Angela McClements, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Transport, said: “This is really excellent news for our transport infrastructure and I would like to welcome West Midlands Trains and congratulate them on their successful bid to win the franchise.  

“I am delighted that it will mean additional train services to Telford’s three stations as well as an enhanced Sunday service.

“Myself and Council officers met with West Midlands Trains Ltd before they submitted their bids and they had some very exciting plans for improving the stations and facilities across our borough.

“I will be seeking an early meeting with them to discuss how we can work together to further improve Telford’s transport infrastructure. I will also be seeking their support in lobbying for electrification of the Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton line, which would bring significant benefits to Telford.”

As part of their successful bid, West Midlands Trains have committed to the following improvements to the service:

•Additional Monday to Saturday hourly service from Telford to Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton and Birmingham starting December 2018

•New hourly Sunday service

•Smartcards for season tickets

•Free wifi on all trains

•Refurbished trains and possibly some new ones

•Potential improvements to stations