The franchise carries around 64 million passengers per year and covers an 867km network with 146 stations, encompassing suburban and regional services radiating from Birmingham as well as suburban, regional and inter-regional services from London Euston to Milton Keynes, Northampton, Birmingham, Crewe, and Liverpool via the West Coast Main Line. London Midland has operated the franchise since November 2007.
Under the new franchise London Midland will invest £13m in a number of improvements including:
- two additional evening services from London Euston to the Trent Valley
- earlier Sunday services into central Birmingham from surrounding towns including Rugby and Lichfield
- new Sunday services from Birmingham to Longbridge to Dorridge, and Whitlocks End
- an extra daily service on the Watford Junction - St Albans Abbey line
- free Wi-Fi on long-distance services from London to Birmingham, Crewe and Liverpool
- new and upgraded ticket machines, and
- more than 400 extra car parking spaces at Watford Junction, Hemel Hempstead and Tamworth.
The franchise will be funded with a government subsidy of £130m over the duration of the new contract.
The DfT is due to invite expressions of interest this month for a long-term West Midlands franchise, which will begin in October 2017. An invitation to tender will be issued to shortlisted bidders in July 2016 and the contract will be awarded in June 2017.