The Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership has welcomed the plans from the Department for Transport (DfT) to introduce new services and boost rail capacity across the West Midlands.
The announcement, which was made last week (30 August), means that bidders for the new franchise will be required to deliver hundreds of extra services, new ticketing options and much increased capacity.
Benefits to the service include:
- space for more than 20,000 additional passengers to travel into London and Birmingham in the morning peak though the introduction of longer trains
- 300 extra Sunday services across the franchise by 2021
- more evening services from Birmingham to Lichfield City, Bromsgrove, Kidderminster, Whitlocks End and Dorridge and later Saturday last services to Wolverhampton, Bromsgrove and Liverpool
- free Wi-Fi on all main line services by the end of 2019
- new ticket options for part time travellers which provide better value options for customers who travel fewer than 5 days a week
There will also be a requirement for bidders to provide at least 60 apprenticeships as part of the franchise.
Paul Maynard, Rail Minister, said: “We are making the biggest investment in the railways since the Victorian era and today marks a key step forward in giving passengers better journeys across the West Midlands and beyond.
This franchise serves both commuters and long distance passengers and these benefits will deliver extra and smoother journeys for customers using these services.
Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “I am pleased to hear about plans to further expand rail capacity and introduce new services across the West Midlands and I am confident that the news will be welcomed by Worcestershire businesses.
“We are investing Local Growth Deal funds to improve railway connectivity with a new railway station at Worcestershire Parkway as this is vital for our local economy. This announcement by the DfT only further improves our rail connectivity and it is also good news that at least 60 apprenticeships will be part of the deal to further benefit skills in the region.”
For more information, visit the gov.uk website.