The first meeting of the board of directors of West Midlands Rail Ltd was held on December 4, marking a major step towards the management and specification of the West Midlands local rail network from 2017.
The partnership between WMR and the Department for Transport will oversee this process. The DfT announcement on December 3 that train operator London Midland will continue running the West Midlands’ local train services until October 2017 allows WMR and the DfT to continue working towards introducing a new West Midlands franchise from that date (RAIL 784).
WMR Chairman Mark Winnington said: “We believe that WMR’s input and shared responsibility for the next franchise will be good for passengers, good for the economy and good for taxpayers. WMR can better understand what the region needs from its railway and make sure services focus on the real needs of passengers and business. It will also make the train operator more accountable at a local level. This forthcoming franchise is very much part of the journey towards full devolution of rail services across the West Midlands.”