Up to 40 extra train services could run in the West Midlands every day when a new franchise is set up, the Government has announced.

The Department for Transport is proposing to merge the existing services in a move it said could increase the number of train journeys in the region.

There will be an additional hourly service between Birmingham and Manchester as well as more frequent services between Birmingham and Northampton and between Euston, Northampton, Tamworth and Crewe.

The new franchise will begin operating on November 11, 2007.

Rail Minister Derek Twigg said: "This is an important franchise and it is entirely right that we consult on the services it provides.

"If these proposals go ahead, passengers will further benefit from the investment we have made in the West Coast Main Line.

"Bidders for the franchise will have to demonstrate how they will deliver extra services on busy routes, build on recent performance improvements and meet the growing demand for rail travel across the franchise area."

Plans are already in the pipeline to invest #7.6bn in the West Coast Main Line.