LONDON Midland has lost the right to operate trains in the West Midlands.

The firm has been running trains in the region since 2007 but has lost the contract to West Midlands Trains Ltd (WMT), after a decision by the Department for Transport. 

The group - a joint-venture between Abellio, Mitsui and East Japan Railway Company - promises to commit nearly £1 billion to the West Midlands region. 

They will run the next West Midlands rail franchise from December 10, 2017.

Dominic Booth, managing director of Abellio UK, said: “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 nearly £1bn into the network, delivering new trains, better stations and a whole host of other benefits for passengers.”

Over the next nine years, WMT will deliver nearly £1bn into the region with £700m of this going into new and refurbished trains.

The group says they will have created space for 85,000 more passengers to travel to London and Birmingham during rush hour, with hugely improved stations and the widespread introduction of smart ticketing.

WMT say they will invest more than £60m in station improvements, delivering over 1,000 new car parking spaces and over 2,500 cycle parking spaces in the region. 

Audio visual displays will be installed on all trains by the end of 2019, as well as 800 new digital screens across the network, and free WI-FI on all trains by the end of December 2019.