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Department for Transport announces winner of West Midlands franchise

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Stock Market statement

For immediate release: 07.00 21 June 2007

New trains and more services for the Midlands

The Department for Transport today announced that London and Birmingham Railway Ltd (a subsidiary of Govia) has been awarded the contract to run the West Midlands franchise.

The new franchise will begin on 11th November 2007 and will run until 19th September 2015. The DfT has the right to terminate the franchise after six years if the operator is failing to meet agreed performance targets.

The franchise will deliver increased capacity, better performance and the rollout of smartcard technology by 2010.

The West Midlands franchise combines the current Silverlink County services between London Euston and Northampton with the West Midlands local and regional service groups of Central Trains. The Department will pay a subsidy of £1,127m (NPV) over the franchise of seven years and 10 months.

Benefits for passengers from the franchise include:

  • New services, including a new semi-fast service between London and Crewe, serving the Trent Valley, and two trains an hour all day between Birmingham and Liverpool and Birmingham and Northampton from December 2008 on the completion of the West Coast Main Line modernisation
  • A fleet of 37 new electric Desiro trains by July 2009
  • New class 172 diesel trains to replace the existing class 150 DMUs operating on the Snow Hill line services in the Birmingham area by July 2010
  • £11.5m investment in stations
  • 1033 more car parking spaces
  • Forecast 90.7% punctuality and reliability by the end of the franchise.

The Government will continue to limit annual rises of regulated fares in line with national policy, which is currently RPI+1%. 

As with all franchises, unregulated fares will be the responsibility of the operator. In the West Midlands, London and Birmingham Railway Ltd is expected to increase fares for journeys on the London to Northampton route by 3% above inflation per annum. Average rises on all other routes within the franchise including those in the West Midlands conurbation are expected to be no higher than RPI+1%.

Passengers in the franchise area will benefit from new arrangements to be compensated for delays and poor performance. 

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

1. The subsidy profile for the West Midlands franchise is:

Mar-08 Mar-09 Mar-10 Mar-11 Mar-12 Mar-13 Mar-14 Mar-15 Mar-16
78,285* 202,534 200,602 184,992 175,148 169,917 165,824 154,767 67,146*

(Nominal, £000s, part years indicated with an asterisk)

2. The bidders for the West Midlands franchise were London & Birmingham Railway Limited (Govia); Serco NedRailways West Midlands Limited (a joint venture between Serco and NedRailways). MTR Corporation UK Limited (MTR Corporation of Hong Kong) pre-qualified for the competition but declined to bid.

3. The new passenger refund system, Delay/Repay, will compensate season ticket holders for delays to journeys they have actually taken, not on the basis of overall performance. This is the same compensation system as currently operates for single, return and weekly ticket holders. Refunds will be on the basis of the proportional daily cost of season tickets, with a 50% single refund for delays of 30-59 minutes, 100% single refund for delays of 60-119 minutes, and 100% return refund for delays of 120 minutes+. This system will be rolled out nationally during the term of each new franchise

4. A proposal from the operators of the Chiltern franchise to run services to and from Birmingham Snow Hill station was unsuccessful and these services will be included within the West Midlands franchise.

5. More details are available on the Department for Transport website at www.dft.gov.uk

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