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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 June 2006, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
More trains pledged in shake-up
Virgin train
New routes and faster service are promised
Dozens of extra trains are being promised daily in both the West and East Midlands as part of a rail franchise shake-up.

The plans would see 40 extra trains every day in the West Midlands and another 20 in the East Midlands.

The changes are being debated in a consultation on three new rail franchises announced last year.

Companies bidding to run the new franchises will be expected to operate longer trains on the busiest routes.

Parkway station

The new West Midlands franchise will combine Silverlink County services with West Midlands local and regional services currently provided by Central Trains.

East Midlands will comprise the existing Midland Mainline franchise and Central Trains' current East Midlands regional services.

The Cross Country franchise, currently operated by Virgin Trains, will no longer include the Reading to Brighton service via Gatwick Airport.

But starting this December there will be two Greater Western trains per hour between Gatwick and Reading where passengers will be able to connect to the new Cross Country services.

New hourly services between Manchester and Bristol are proposed in the new Cross Country franchise as well as faster journeys between Manchester and Birmingham.

Central train
Central and Silverlink franchises will disappear in their current form

In the West Midlands franchise, there will be a new hourly service between Birmingham and Manchester, more frequent services between Birmingham, Coventry and Northampton and also along the Trent Valley line from London to the Midlands.

In the East Midlands franchise, a new through service between Nottingham and Leeds is proposed.

There will also be two trains per hour to London from the new station at East Midlands Parkway, which is scheduled to open in December 2008.

The consultation will also look at proposals for the minimum level of service a future operator would deliver.

The new franchises will start operating on 11 November 2007.

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