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The funding will be used to recruit new train drivers and senior conductors as well as introduce timetable improvements in May and December. Passengers will also be offered a 3% discount on season tickets and a 10% reduction in off-peak fares in July and August, in line with plans announced by the operator last month.
“West Midlands Trains have failed to fulfil their obligations – to their franchise agreement and most importantly to their passengers,” says Mr Grant Shapps, Britain’s secretary of state for transport. “The action we’re taking means they must invest in rapidly improving services, so that passengers have reliable, punctual trains they can rely on.”
West Midlands Trains, which operates West Midland Railway and London Northwestern Railway, is a joint venture of Abellio (70.1%) and East Japan Railway (JR East) and Mitsui (29.9%). The franchise operates services from London Euston to Birmingham and Liverpool around the west midlands.
The operator experienced a string of cancellations in early November due to the added operational complexities introduced by West Midland Trains in the May timetable change, which were heightened at times of staff shortages, particularly school holidays. West Midlands Trains satisfaction rating fell by 11 points in the latest National Rail Passenger Survey published on January 28 to 73%, ahead of only Northern on 72%.
“We have held detailed discussions with the West Midlands Mayor and others to ensure this extra investment – over and above our original £1billion franchise commitment – benefits all our customers and restores the reliable rail service they deserve,” Edwards says. “We are fully focused on achieving this as quickly as possible. Every issue cannot be solved overnight and we thank our customers for their patience while we fix their service.”
West Midlands Trains is set to introduce 14 four-car and 12 two-car class 196 DMUs built by CAF later this year. The franchise commenced in December 2017 and will run until 2025/2026.
The post West Midlands Trains instructed to invest £20m to improve performance appeared first on International Railway Journal.
This article first appeared on www.railjournal.com
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