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A Whirlwind Tour of West Midlands Rail

West Midlands Rail (WMR) is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority and is a partnership of local authorities in the region that, as a result of the Government’s devolution and localism agenda, is gaining a much increased role in the specification of rail services across the West Midlands.  The London Midland franchise that provides most local services will be replaced in the autumn and WMR has forged a strong collaborative relationship with the Department for Transport to specify, procure and then manage the new franchise. 

The new arrangements are due to begin in October 2017, with WMR and the incoming selected operator getting ready for the commencement of the new franchise over the coming summer. 


 
Rail services in the region are increasingly important to the local economy.  Around 40,000 people in Birmingham alone use a train to get to work every day.  The very essence of devolution is getting decision-making closer to the service user, passengers and business, and to ensure that the services provided best meet local and social needs.  WMR is keen to forge a strong relationship with regional stakeholders, including businesses, to ensure that they are able to powerfully represent their needs. 

So, what’s next?

Malcolm Holmes, Programme Director for the design, development and delivery of the new West Midlands Franchise, said:

“We would urge businesses to keep an eye out for the announcement of the new operator, and contact details.  At some point in the summer we will coordinate an event with FSB to discuss what’s possible and to elicit direct feedback. In due course business owners will also be able to meet the new operator to hear for themselves what their plans are and find out about the procurement and engagement opportunities that change will bring. 

The FSB will have links to WMR and to the operator and we will welcome feedback of its members.  By raising local small business issues these can then be captured and progressed towards a potential solution, we want to make sure that your voice is heard.”