Rail passengers are in line for a range of benefits and enhanced services following the signing of a new partnership deal between transport chiefs and train operator London Midland.
Transport for West Midlands, part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and London Midland have agreed a 45 point plan to build on past successes and deliver further local improvements for customers in the region.
They include developing and agreeing a delivery plan for enhanced services on the Chase Line following electrification, working together to fully integrate the Midland Metro at Birmingham’s New Street station, and maximising the opportunities brought by HS2.
Other benefits include working to support the proposed redevelopment of Wolverhampton Station interchange and identifying suitable sites to expand the hugely popular park and ride scheme at stations.
There is also a pledge for greater use of Wi-Fi for passenger services, improved ticket machines at stations and enhanced CCTV on board trains.
Cllr Roger Lawrence, transport lead for the WMCA, said: “Demand for rail services is as high as it has ever been so it is crucial we work together to develop and extract the maximum benefits from the network for the passenger.
“I am confident this joint agreement will be good news for passengers as it cements the good work that has already been done and sets out the foundations of further improvements.”
London Midland managing director Patrick Verwer said: “We have a strong history of working in partnership in the West Midlands.
“The improvements we are planning to introduce over the next 15 months are based on what local people have said are important to them.
These are exciting times for the region. London Midland has supported the idea of devolution as it helps us get closer and respond more quickly to the needs of local rail users.”
The agreement continues the work of the Transforming Rail Travel partnership previously signed with London Midland by TfWM predecessor Centro in 2011.
This introduced a range of improvements to local services including new stations and services, combined ticketing, additional free car parking and improved station facilities including CCTV.
The work of TfWM is overseen by the Transport Delivery Committee of the WMCA.
London Midland holds the franchise to operate local rail services in the West Midlands until October 2017, when it may be extended for up to 12 months.