Milton Keynes’ commuters will see nearly £1 billion invested in services on the West Midlands rail network.
The Department for Transport confirmed today that they have awarded West Midlands Trains Ltd (a joint venture between Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co Ltd) to run the West Midlands franchise.
Under the new deal there will be 400 new carriages rolled out by 2021 and space for an extra 85,000 passengers on rush hour services between Birmingham, Milton Keynes and London, with the longer trains providing extra seats and space for passengers.
Under the deal passengers will also get:
- free WiFi on all main line services by the end of 2019
- for the first time compensation, if services are delayed by more than 15 minutes
- 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.
Importantly for Milton Keynes there will be more space for passengers on the Marston Vale line with earlier and later services between Bedford and Bletchley and a new hourly Sunday service from May 2021 for the first time.
There will be more Sunday trains on the line from Euston to Northampton, with up to 4 services an hour running between Euston and Milton Keynes by May 2021.
This looks like a great investment for commuters. We all know the pains of having to stand from MK to London during rush hour, so I am delighted that this is now being addressed. I am also pleased to see the focus on technology such as WiFi on all trains and smart ticketing.