Dame Caroline welcomes more seats for rail passengers as nearly £1 billion is invested in Midlands services

Earlier today the Government announced that a new rail operator has been awarded a new contract to run the West Midlands rail franchise.

Under the deal, WMT Ltd, a new joint venture between Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co Ltd, the regions rail network will benefit from an additional £1 billion of investment, creating 400 new carriages by 2021 and space for an extra 85,000 passengers of rush hour services. A new compensation scheme will also be introduced to reimburse passengers for shorter delays of 15 minutes or more to WMT services.

In addition to this, passengers will also benefit from free wifi on all main line services by the end of 2019 and improved access for those requiring extra assistance, including disabled people. Smart ticketing and live passenger information will also be rolled out under the deal, as part of a package of reforms that will improve journeys for passengers.

The announcement has been welcomed by Meriden MP, Dame Caroline Spelman who said, "For years our region’s rail network has been unable to meet passenger demand resulting in numerous delays and cancellations to services which have cost both commuters and the local economy millions of pounds each year.

I welcome this new investment as another vote of confidence in our region which will serve to benefit the many hundreds of thousands of passengers who use the rail network each day by making local services more reliable, more comfortable and more convenient”.