WMR unveils new-look livery designs for West Midlands rolling stock
New-look livery designs have been released for how commuter trains in the West Midlands could look when a new operator takes over the franchise in October this year.
The franchisee will run services on the regional network on behalf of the DfT and West Midlands Rail (WMR), a consortium of 14 local authorities. Currently the management of the franchise is the sole responsibility of central government, but this is being devolved locally under a joint management scheme in a similar manner to the Northern and TPE contracts.
Although the finer details of the new livery will be agreed with the franchise winner, the design is expected to be closely modelled on the images released by WMR.
Cllr Mark Winnington, chair of WMR and Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for economic growth, said: “We felt it was important to have a distinct brand and identity for local trains and we are extremely pleased the DfT feels the same way.
“We believe that having this level of involvement in the management of our local network will bring real benefits not just for passengers but also for local businesses.”
Two train companies are currently in the running for the West Midlands franchise: London and West Midlands Railway Limited, a subsidiary of Govia Limited (a joint venture between Keolis and Go-Ahead Group) and West Midlands Trains Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Abellio with East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co Limited as minority partners. In June last year, MTR Corporation West Midlands unexpectedly withdrew its bid to take over the West Midlands rail franchise.
Improvements for passengers set to be delivered under the new franchise include extra capacity, more frequent services and free wi-fi. The DfT noted that the new franchise would also provide capacity for an additional 20,000 passengers at peak times.
It added that it requires a franchisee who will, by the end of 2021, refurbish all pre-1995 rolling stock that will form part of the train fleet after the end of 2022.
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