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Railhub Archive
2006-06-08 DfT-001
Department for Transport


Extra rail services for the West Midlands proposed

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Department for Transport

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Department for Transport

Extra rail services for the West Midlands proposed

8 Jun 2006 00:00
source Department for Transport
type Press release

The Department for Transport launched a consultation on the service specification for the new West Midlands rail franchise today.

The new franchise will combine Silverlink County services with West Midlands local and regional services currently provided by Central Trains.

The consultation invites views on proposals for the minimum level of services that a future operator will have to deliver when the franchise begins operating on the 11th November 2007.

Overall the consultation proposes around 40 extra train services per day. This is building on the extra capacity provided by the £7.6 billion investment in the modernisation of the West Coast Main Line.

Proposed improvements include an additional hourly service between Manchester and Birmingham, more frequent services between Birmingham and Northampton and between Euston, Northampton, Tamworth and Crewe.

The consultation also proposes that the future operator of the franchise should consider the introduction of more flexible and value added tickets to encourage demand. They should also ensure that the busiest stations achieve secure station status. Recent improvements in performance will have to be built upon and improved.

Bidders will be asked to price options to put in place more services on the Watford Junction - St Albans Abbey; Walsall - Hednesford and Shirley to Whitlock's End routes and extend the Bedford to Bletchley service onwards to Milton Keynes when future planned infrastructure changes allow.

Rail Minister Derek Twigg said:

"This is an important franchise and it is entirely right that we consult on the services it provides.

"If these proposals go ahead, passengers will further benefit from the investment we have made in the West Coast Main Line.

"Bidders for the franchise will have to demonstrate how they will deliver extra services on busy routes, build on recent performance improvements and meet the growing demand for rail travel across the franchise area."

Responses to the consultation are invited by the 7th August 2006. They will help inform the Invitation to Tender, which will be given to pre-qualified bidders in Autumn 2006. The closing date of bids is February 2007 and the winner announced in Summer 2007.


1. The consultation is available on the DfT website - - and includes the following proposals:

* A new additional hourly service between Birmingham and Manchester. It will call at Wolverhampton, Penkridge (peak hours), Stafford, Stone, Stoke-on-Trent, Congleton, Macclesfield, Prestbury, Adlington, Poynton, Bramhall, Cheadle Hulme and Stockport.

* More frequent services between Birmingham and Northampton to give a half-hourly all day service

* More trains to give an hourly service between London Euston, Northampton and Crewe. Calling at Watford Junction, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Long Buckby, Rugby, Nuneaton, Atherstone or Polesworth, Tamworth, Lichfield Trent Valley, Rugeley Trent Valley, Stafford and Crewe. It may also be possible to extend certain services to Liverpool.

* Reinstatement of rail services at Stone station - through calls in the new Birmingham to Manchester service

* Chiltern will be invited to put forward proposals to operate services through Birmingham Snow Hill. Overall service levels will remain.

* The removal of the poorly used Wolverhampton to Walsall service - although it would be possible for others to fund the service.

* Initiatives to reduce overcrowding and accommodate forecast demand for rail travel

* Introduce new, more flexible and added value tickets

* Continued improvements in operational performance with new targets included the new contract

* Improved station safety with the busiest stations awarded Secure Stations scheme status

* Continued support for Community Rail projects

* Consultations are also being launched for the new East Midlands and Cross Country franchises. Documents are available on the DfT website at

2. DfT is also consulting on proposals for the New Cross Country franchise which will provide additional capacity on Cross Country services that will serve Birmingham. Consultation documents are available on the DfT website

3. It was announced on 18 October 2005 that three new franchises would replace the four existing franchises of Central Trains, Silverlink, Cross Country and Midland Mainline.

4. Expressions of Interest have been invited for the three franchises. Details, including advertisements, Prior Information Notices and guidance on railway franchising procurement processes can also be found on the DfT website

Railhub Archive ::: 2006-06-08 DfT-001


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