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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 June 2007, 08:56 GMT 09:56 UK
Rail firm's over-inflation rise
The new operating company which will run trains in the Midlands is to raise some fares above inflation.

The London and Birmingham Railway's franchise will begin in November and run until September 2015.

The service comprises some routes run by Silverlink and the major part of the current Central Trains franchise.

Regulated fares will rise by 1% above inflation a year but they are expected to raise fares on the Northampton - London route by 3% above inflation.

'Passenger benefits'

Average rises on all other routes within the franchise including those in the West Midlands conurbation were expected to be no higher than 1% above inflation, the Department for Transport said.

Promised passenger benefits from the new franchise include new services, with a new semi-fast journey between London and Crewe, serving the Trent Valley.

There will also be two trains an hour all day between Birmingham and Liverpool and Birmingham and Northampton from December 2008 on the completion of the West Coast Main Line modernisation.

Additionally there will be a fleet of 37 new electric Desiro trains by July 2009.

The new operator is also promising 11.5m investment in stations, 1,033 more car parking spaces and a forecast of 90.7% punctuality and reliability by the end of the franchise.

Joint venture

London and Birmingham Railway is a subsidiary of Go-Ahead's company Govia, which already runs the Southeastern and Southern franchises and will be taking over the Gatwick Express service next year.

The new franchise will be branded London Midland and includes Central Trains' West Midlands regional services, including the Snow Hill lines and the Birmingham to Liverpool route.

Go-Ahead beat off the challenge from a joint venture between Serco and NedRail - which already runs the Merseyrail and Northern franchises - to take the London Midland prize.

The Government will pay London and Birmingham Railway a subsidy of 1.12bn over the life of the franchise.

* The original London and Birmingham Railway ran from 1833 until 1846.

The line was engineered by Robert Stephenson.

It started at Euston Station in London, and travelled north-north-westward until reaching Rugby, where it turned west to Coventry and on to Birmingham.

Govia pledged to provide 64 new trains in the region

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