West Midlands Rail

Delivering a Devolved Railway

West Midlands Rail (WMR) will gain greater influence and control over local rail services in a fully devolved West Midlands Rail Contract. WMR is a partnership of 16 Metropolitan District, Shire and Unitary local transport authorities.

From December 2017 West Midlands Trains Ltd (a joint venture between Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co Ltd) will run the region's rail services under new franchise. Trains running only in the West Midlands area will be jointly managed by the Department for Transport (DfT) and WMR.

A package of improvements - including more frequent services, new trains and extra seats - has been built into the new franchise agreement to support further economic growth and jobs across the region. It is the first time that West Midlands authorities have had such a level of influence in setting out what a train company needs to deliver for local passengers.

Rail devolution passes control for the specification, management, and in some cases the procurement of certain rail franchises to local bodies. This model has been successfully used for some time elsewhere in the UK in Scotland, Wales, Merseyside and London.