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Partnership launches to deliver a better integrated and more locally accountable West midlands rail network

Friday 24 November, 2023

  • West Midlands Rail Executive and Great British Railways Transition Team are working on a partnership to deliver a more locally accountable railway in the West Midlands.
  • The partnership will support better integration of rail into the wider public transport and active travel network in West Midlands, making journeys easier for customers
  • The partnership will deliver simplification of rail fares and integrated ticketing, aiming to achieve best value for passengers

West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) and Great British Railways Transition Team (GBRTT) have formally started work to deliver a more locally accountable and integrated rail network in the West Midlands.  

This industry-leading collaboration, which brings the railway and wider-region together, supports the ambitions outlined in the Trailblazer Deeper Devolution Deal which was agreed between West Midlands Combined Authority and Government in March this year. 

The partnership will give local leaders even further influence over the railway, ensuring that it meets the needs of West Midlands’ communities and rail customers. It will integrate rail into the wider West Midlands transport network with bus and tram, allowing customers to plan and pay for journeys seamlessly.

Through West Midlands’ existing Swift platform, a fully integrated multi modal fares and ticketing structure will be delivered. A pilot agreement for a new pay as you go ticketing offer will be announced soon. Other changes to make buying rail tickets simpler and easier to understand are also being worked on.

A West Midlands Railway train at Birmingham Snow Hill railway station.

Mal Drury- Rose, Executive Director of the WMRE said: “I am excited by this partnership which will deliver enhanced local accountability and influence and therefore enable rail to better serve the people of the West Midlands. We’ve made significant progress on integrating West Midlands Railway with other public transport services through our existing partnerships with DfT and the rail industry. However this new GBRTT/WMRE partnership will go one step further – improving customers’ experience at stations, on trains and as they move between bus and tram.”

The partnership will:

  • develop and implement opportunities to improve the customer experience, looking across the station and on-board experience (e.g. customer information, wayfinding and branding)
  • make it easier for customers to make end-to-end public transport journeys across the West Midlands
  • ensure the railway can support the wider-region and constituent local authorities’ future plans for transport, housing and health to help deliver economic growth

Rufus Boyd, Interim GBRTT Lead Director, said: “GBRTT’s vision for a future guiding mind for rail is to bring different parties together so that decisions about train services are made in partnership with people who know what's best for their region. 

“This new partnership with the West Midlands is an example of that vision, and brings together key organisations involved in the wider region's transport. As well as enabling people to make and pay for journeys seamlessly across trains, buses and trams, this improved connectivity and joint approach can unlock jobs, housing and economic growth across the wider region." 

Partnership development will be overseen by a Partnership Oversight Group (POG) which brings together expertise from across the sector, such as Network Rail, the Department for Transport and others to help drive innovative ideas to benefit the people and businesses of the West Midlands.  

By getting all the right people around the table, the Partnership Oversight Group will help unlock genuinely dynamic and agile decision making.  w

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