West Midlands Trains: on the right track

175 years of experience has embedded in Abellio a social duty to passengers that extends beyond the journey on one of its trains, trams or buses.

29 December 2017
Quality

175 years of experience has embedded in Abellio a social duty to passengers that extends beyond the journey on one of its trains, trams or buses.

The passenger is at the heart of everything Abellio does. The delivery of safe, reliable and comfortable services is the starting point for every transport provider, but that is not enough for Abellio. Its services must play an integrated role in the socio-economic development of the societies it serves.

West Midlands Railway train

Brioney Thomas, head of Rail at Burges Salmon, is delighted. She’s just led the team that supported West Midlands Trains (WMT) with its winning bid for the West Midlands franchise and its mobilisation up to launch day.

“Some deals go further than others,” she explains. “Some deals touch on more lives than others. We’re very lucky in the rail team as we are trusted by franchisees across the country to do the legal work on a whole range of matters that will touch on the lives of millions of people over the coming years. I guess it’s only when you step back that you realise the enormity of it, really.”

WMT took over the West Midlands rail franchise on 10 December 2017. It has committed to delivering nearly £1 billion of investment into the region with £680 million of this going into new and refurbished trains. The consortium is also notable as the first time any Japanese company has been successful in a bid for a UK rail franchise, with Mitsui and JR East working alongside Abellio UK.

Dominic Booth, Managing Director of consortium lead, Abellio UK, says: “Working alongside a team of experienced lawyers at Burges Salmon has simply made the process as pain free as is possible.“

“We are delighted to have been announced as the winning bidder for the West Midlands franchise, driving growth in one of the most exciting regions in the country. We will be investing significantly into the network, delivering new trains, better stations and a whole host of other benefits for passengers. Working alongside a team of experienced lawyers at Burges Salmon has simply made the process as pain free as is possible.”

As part of the deal, 400 new carriages will be rolled out by 2021, creating space for an extra 85,000 passengers on rush hour services in Birmingham and London, while there will be free Wi-Fi on all trains by the end of December 2019.

“The creation of over 900 new apprenticeships over the course of the franchise is also something that clearly resonates with our own experience having been very positive to date,” explains Brioney. “Given the commitment to change over the course of the franchise, I think it’s one of those deals that we will be able to look back on and be genuinely proud of what the client has achieved.”

What others say...

Working alongside a team of experienced lawyers at Burges Salmon has simply made the process as pain free as is possible.
Dominic Booth, Managing Director, Abellio UK

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