London Midland staff to transfer to new West Midlands consortium
Around 2,500 railway staff will be transferred from London Midland to the Dutch and Japanese consortium which takes over the regional rail franchise in December.
The change in operator of the rail services will also see the removal of London Midland markings on trains, beginning next month.
From December 10, when West Midlands Rail Ltd take over the franchise, trains will be painted in purple and orange.
The local services, such as Walsall to Wolverhampton, will have West Midlands Railway on the side of carriages.
But the firm is yet to decide on branding for the longer services, such as Birmingham to Liverpool.
The consortium, made up of Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsuii & Co Ltd, has pledged £1b investment into the region's services.
It will include £700m for new and refurbished trains, 20,000 more rush hour seats from Birmingham and direct services from Walsall to London.
Reacting to the announcement on Wednesday, London Midland managing director Patrick Verwer said: "Over the coming months our focus will remain on delivering the best possible service to our passengers, each day and every day.
"This approach is already producing high levels of customer satisfaction.
"We have created a strong foundation for the new operators to build on. During the months ahead we will continue to work with West Midlands Trains Ltd, the Department for Transport and all our stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition into the new franchise.”
Rail Union RMT is to have talks with the consortium to seek assurances over the staffing of trains and stations.
General Secretary Mick Cash said: "RMT is demanding urgent talks with the Abellio West Midlands consortium over the guards, ticket offices and station staffing.
"The union has already made it clear that we will fight any moves to de-staff trains and stations on the new franchise and we will be looking to secure assurances from the company before they take over in a few months time.
Cannock Chase MP Amanda Milling has welcomed the new franchise, which she hopes will add to the improvements left by electrification of the Chase Line.
She said: "I will be looking to meet the new operators as soon as possible to discuss with them some of the issues faced by passengers over the past few years which have included severe overcrowding and fare dodging.
"The new operators need to have plans in place to tackle these issues once they take over the line’s operation in December and ensure the benefits of the electrification project are fully realised next year.”