JR East to operate British rail franchise

JR East to operate British rail franchise

East Japan Railway Co. has won the right to operate a British rail franchise jointly with trading house Mitsui & Co and a unit of a Dutch railway company, JR East said Thursday.

It will be the first time for the Japanese railway company to operate a rail service outside of Japan, as it seeks to grow its overseas portfolio.

A consortium formed by JR East, Mitsui and Abellio Transport Group Ltd will operate the West Midlands rail franchise, a service connecting London and Liverpool and providing transportation in the Birmingham area, for about a decade starting in December.

During that time, it will invest nearly 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion), of which 700 million pounds will be spent to introduce new trains and refurbish existing ones.

JR East and Mitsui together hold a 29.9 percent stake in the joint venture, West Midlands Trains Ltd, while Abellio, a subsidiary of the Dutch national rail service, holds a 70.1 percent stake.


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