London Midland

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For the former "Big Four" Railway company, see London, Midland and Scottish Railway. For the former British Railways region, see London Midland Region (British Railways).
London Midland
350252 at Watford Junction.jpg
Franchise(s): West Midlands
11 Nov 2007 - 31 Mar 2016
Main region(s): London, West Midlands
Other region(s): North West, East Midlands
Stations called at: 146[1]
Stations operated: 146
Passenger km 2007/8: 591.5 million
Route km operated: 867.4
National Rail abbreviation: LM
Parent company: Govia (Go-Ahead/Keolis)
Web site:
Route map
Route map
An outdated map of the London Midland Network
London Midland Express route map
London Midland City route map

London Midland[2] is a train operating company in England owned by Govia operating the West Midlands franchise.

London Midland operates commuter services on the West Coast Main Line from London Euston to Warwickshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and long distance services to and from the West Midlands county, Cheshire and Staffordshire.

The franchise was originally due to expire in September 2015, this has since been extended until March 2016, with negotiations continuing to extend it until June 2017.[3][4]


London Midland's services are divided between two sub-brands, London Midland Express and London Midland City.[5]

London Midland Express[edit]

This sub-brand is used primarily for semi-fast services on the West Coast Main Line. The main service pattern is as follows:

Every half-hour to Liverpool Lime Street, one train calls at Coseley, Wolverhampton, Penkridge, Stafford, Crewe, Runcorn and Liverpool South Parkway. The other train calls at Smethwick Galton Bridge, Wolverhampton, Stafford, Crewe, Winsford, Hartford, Acton Bridge (every 2 hours), Runcorn and Liverpool South Parkway. Journey times vary between approx. 1½ hours and 1¾ hours.

Every half-hour to Birmingham New Street, one train calls at Watford Junction, Milton Keynes Central, Northampton, Rugby, Coventry, Tile Hill, Hampton-in-Arden, Birmingham International and Marston Green. The other train calls at Leighton Buzzard, Bletchley, Milton Keynes Central, Wolverton, Northampton, Long Buckby, Rugby, Coventry, Canley, Tile Hill, Berkswell, Birmingham International and Marston Green.

In the southbound direction there is one additional train per hour from Birmingham New Street to London Euston. Northbound this is replaced by two separate services: one from Euston to Northampton and one from Northampton to Birmingham New Street.

Every hour to Milton Keynes calling at Watford Junction, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Tring, Cheddington, Leighton Buzzard and Bletchley

Every half-hour to Tring; one calling at Harrow & Wealdstone, Bushey, Watford Junction, Kings Langley, Apsley, Hemel Hempstead, and Berkhamsted, one calling at Wembley Central, Harrow & Wealdstone, Bushey, Watford Junction, Kings Langley, Apsley, Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamstead. Journey times are about 45 minutes end to end. Some peak services have varied calling patterns calling alternatively at Wembley Central, Harrow & Wealdstone and Bushey. However all services stop at Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead and Watford Junction. Peak services are increased to 15 minutes per hour.

Hourly, off-peak, calling at Milton Keynes Central, Rugby, Nuneaton, Atherstone, Tamworth, Lichfield Trent Valley, Rugeley Trent Valley, Stafford, Stone, Stoke-on-Trent, Kidsgrove, and Alsager.

This semi-fast service replaced the old Virgin Trains service from December 2008. This coincided with a reduction in the number of Virgin Trains off-peak services calling at stations in the Trent Valley (and other parts of the WCML).[6]

This move was controversial, as it meant some towns losing their fast services to the capital. However, it also enabled some smaller towns, such as Stone, to have their rail service reinstated or improved. A handful of Virgin Trains services continue to call at Trent Valley stations in peak hours only.[6] As of December 2012 most Euston - Crewe services do not go via Northampton. By operating via the fast lines up to 30 minutes was cut from the journey time.[7]

London Midland has introduced an evening peak Watford Shuttle service to Watford Junction.

The London Midland Express brand is also used for two branches off the WCML:

It is a requirement of the franchise that Transport for London's Oyster Cards be valid for trains between London and Watford Junction. In the past, TfL has expressed interest in taking over the St Albans branch, and installing Oyster Card readers on the stations along it;[8] however, this route was included within the London Midland franchise.

London Midland City[edit]

London Midland City 153371 departs Bedford with a service for Bletchley
Parry People Mover Class 139 at Stourbridge Junction

This sub-brand is used for local and commuter services around the Birmingham / Coventry area, sponsored by Centro/ Network West Midlands, that were previously run by Central Trains. The service patterns are shown below, with weekday frequencies indicated:

  • Birmingham New StreetNorthampton. Hourly, calling at Marston Green, Birmingham International, Hampton-in-Arden, Berkswell, Tile Hill, Canley, Coventry, Rugby and Long Buckby. Some peak services have varied calling patterns calling alternatively at Canley, Berkswell and Hampton-in-Arden. But all services call at Marston Green, Birmingham International, Tile Hill, Coventry, Rugby and Long Buckby. Peak services are increased to 15 minutes per hour.
  • Birmingham New Street - Birmingham International. Hourly, calling at Adderley Park, Stechford and Lea Hall.
  • Birmingham New Street - Coventry. Hourly, calling at Stechford then all stations to Coventry.
  • Walsall – Wolverhampton. Half-hourly, all stops.
  • Lichfield – Birmingham New Street - Redditch (the Cross-City Line). Every half hour between Longbridge/Redditch and Four Oaks, two trains an hour between Longbridge/Redditch and Lichfield City and every half hour between Longbridge/Redditch-Lichfield Trent Valley. A number of services to/from Redditch, Longbridge, Trent Valley, City, Four Oaks and Blake Street start or end at New Street.
  • Birmingham New Street - Walsall - Rugeley (the Chase Line). Every 30 minutes, with an hourly service to Rugeley [half-hourly in peak hours], calling at Tame Bridge Parkway, Walsall then all stations and every hour between Walsall and Birmingham calling at Walsall, Tame Bridge Parkway and Birmingham New Street.[9]
  • Birmingham New Street – Shrewsbury. Hourly, all stops beyond Wolverhampton, complemented by Arriva Trains Wales' fast services to give a twice-hourly service at main stations. Virgin run a small number of services from Shrewsbury to London which call at Birmingham.
  • Birmingham New Street – Hereford via Bromsgrove. Hourly off-peak, half-hourly peak. Semi-fast.
  • Worcester - Birmingham Snow HillLeamington Spa / Stratford-upon-Avon (the Snow Hill Lines). Every ten minutes between Stourbridge Junction and Birmingham Moor Street, with 3 trains an hour to Dorridge (some peak trains go to Leamington Spa) and 3 trains an hour towards Whitlocks End (1 train an hour continues to Stratford-upon-Avon Sunday to Friday, 2 on Saturdays). Of the 6 trains an hour from Birmingham towards Stourbridge Junction, 2 terminate at Stourbridge, 2 terminate at Kidderminster and 2 terminate in Worcester.
  • Stourbridge JunctionStourbridge Town (the Stourbridge Branch Line). Every ten minutes.[10]
  • CoventryNuneaton. Hourly.

Smaller stations[edit]

London Midland operates several "limited stop" stations, where only a handful of trains a day call.

These include:[11]

London Midland also operates stations where it operates no services. These stations are only served by CrossCountry, which does not manage any stations. These include:

Former services[edit]

In December 2008 London Midland discontinued the direct service between Walsall and Wolverhampton. Traffic on the route was low, but growing, and there was a campaign to keep the service.[12] The service was a priced option with the new West Midlands franchise, but the Department for Transport decided not to provide funding from December 2008, and as a result the service ceased.[13] There is only one early morning train on Saturdays from Wolverhampton to Walsall (Parliamentary service).[14] London Midland advised that passengers should use Travel West Midlands buses instead.[citation needed]

In December 2008 a two-hourly Worcester Shrub Hill to Gloucester was introduced to improve transport links between the two areas as well as to provide an increased service at Ashchurch for Tewkesbury. This service was withdrawn in December 2009 because of low passenger use.[15] However since the December 2009 timetable changes, London Midland still does run a (Parliamentary service) once a week from Birmingham New Street to Gloucester, in the southbound direction only with no northbound return.[16]

Proposed services[edit]

In October 2010 London Midland applied to the Office of Rail Regulation to run a new hourly Birmingham to Preston service from 2016 by diverting every other Birmingham to Liverpool train. The Euston to Crewe service would then be extended to Liverpool to maintain a half-hourly service between Crewe and Liverpool by 2016 as well. Currently only one train per day on weekdays by London Midland operates between Euston and Liverpool.[17][18] This was rejected by the Office of Rail Regulation.[19] London Midland also sought to run additional evening and Sunday trains between Euston and Crewe, to satisfy what the company says is unmet demand.[17] From April 2012 London Midland began operating an hourly Euston to Crewe service on Sundays.[20]


The company has stated that it experienced many breakdowns due to the outdated rolling stock it inherited and which it has now replaced.[21] and has also provided extra seats in the 2014 timetable[22]

In Autumn and Winter 2012 many services suffered cancellations owing to a shortage of train operating staff.[23][24][25]

Performance since the staff shortages have been varied with a Low of 76% for the period 10 November - 7 December 2013 to a 92.2% for the period 1–26 April 2014[26] The average punctuality since the start of the franchise is 87%[27]

A new partnership agreement between London Midland and transport authority Centro is set to trigger a £10m investment in station improvements across the West Midlands. 'Transforming Rail Travel' is a deal between the two organisations to continue a two-year arrangement with the aim of delivering further enhancements to services and facilities.[28]

Rolling stock[edit]

London Midland retained seven Class 321s for both the Abbey Flyer Watford Junction - St Albans Abbey branch and London Euston-Tring/Milton Keynes Central/Northampton peak-hour services

London Midland inherited a fleet of Class 150, Class 153, Class 170, Class 321, Class 323 and Class 350/1s from Central Trains and Silverlink.

A franchise commitment was to replace all of the Class 150s and Class 321s.[29] London Midland ordered two Class 139 Parry People Movers, 12 two-carriage and 15 three-carriage Class 172 Turbostars and 37 four-carriage Class 350/2 Desiros.[30][31][32]

All bar three Class 150s were cascaded to First Great Western (12 x 2 carriage, 2 x 3 carriage) and Northern Rail (18 x 2 carriages) and the Class 321s to First Capital Connect (13) and National Express East Anglia (17). The Class 153, Class 170 and Class 323s have all been refurbished.

The first of the Class 350/2 Desiros arrived in the UK in early October 2008 for testing at the Siemens Northampton depot.[33] By July 2009 they were all in service.

London Midland was to lose all of its Class 321s, but a change of plan saw it retain seven for use both on the Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey branch line and on peak-hour express services between Northampton/Milton Keynes Central/Tring-London Euston.[34][35]

The two Class 139 railcars were due to enter service on the Stourbridge line with the start of the new timetable on 15 December 2008. However, problems in testing caused a delay in their introduction, with a replacement bus covering the route following the reallocation of the Class 153 originally used.[36] The two railcars finally entered full passenger service in June 2009.[37]

London Midland was to lose all of its Class 150s, but a change in plan saw it retain three Class 150 vehicles as additional capacity, following a statement from the Department for Transport on 10 August 2011. However, London Midland transferred two Class 153s to First Great Western as a result.[38] The other Class 150s were transferred to First Great Western and Northern Rail.

In 2011 London Midland announced that it would be procuring a further 18 four-coach Class 350 Desiros, eight for itself and ten for sub-lease to First TransPennine Express.[39] In February 2012 it was announced that 20 Class 350 Desiros had been ordered by London Midland. Ten Class 350/3s will enter service with London Midland, and ten longer Class 350/4s with First TransPennine Express.[40][41]

Current fleet[edit]

Class Image Type Cars per set Top speed Number Routes operated Built
mph km/h
Class 139 Parry People Mover 139 002 leaving Stourbridge Town Railway Station - - 1376879 LPG railcar 1 40 64 2 Stourbridge Town Branch Line 2008
Class 150/1 Sprinter 150014 Birmingham MS 2007 DMU 2 75 121 3 Marston Vale Line
Birmingham – Hereford
Class 153 Super Sprinter 153366 Bedford 1 75 121 8 Marston Vale Line
Coventry – Nuneaton
Snow Hill Lines
Birmingham – Rugeley
Birmingham – Shrewsbury
Class 170/5 Turbostar 170506 at Worcester Foregate 2 100 161 17 Birmingham – Hereford
Birmingham – Shrewsbury
Birmingham – Rugeley
Class 170/6 Turbostar 170631 at Shrewsbury - DSC08281.JPG 3 100 161 6 Birmingham – Hereford
Birmingham – Shrewsbury
Birmingham – Rugeley
Snow Hill Lines
Class 172/2 Turbostar Birmingham Snow Hill - London Midland 172213 2 100 161 12 Snow Hill Lines 2011
Class 172/3 Turbostar Birmingham New Street - London Midland 172340 3 100 161 15 Snow Hill Lines 2011
Class 321 321411 Watford Junction E.JPG EMU 4 100 161 7 Abbey Line
London – Tring/Milton Keynes
London – Northampton
Class 323 Birmingham New Street railway station MMB 22 323220.jpg 3 90 145 26 Redditch – Lichfield Trent Valley
Wolverhampton – Walsall via Birmingham
Birmingham – Birmingham International
Class 350/1 Desiro Hugh llewelyn 350 101 (6390196319) 4 110 177 30 London – Birmingham
Birmingham – Liverpool

London – Tring/Milton Keynes
London – Crewe

London – Northampton
Northampton – Birmingham

Wolverhampton – Walsall via Birmingham
Class 350/2 Desiro Rugby railway station MMB 12 350233 4 100 161 37 2008–09
Class 350/3 Desiro 4 110 177 10 2014
London Midland replaced the area's older trains, including the Class 150s that operated the Snow Hill and Marston Vale lines


London Midland's diesel fleet is maintained at Tyseley depot, the Class 323s at Soho depot in Birmingham and the Class 321 and 350s by Siemens at Kings Heath depot in Northampton. The Class 139s have their own small depot where all maintenance is carried out at Stourbridge Junction.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ London Midland website. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
  2. ^ Companies House extract company no 5814584 London & Birmingham Railway Limited
  3. ^ London Midland rail franchise extended to 2016 BBC News 10 June 2014
  4. ^ Rail Franchises Go-Ahead}
  5. ^ "Our Network". London London Midland. Retrieved 2 June 2009. 
  6. ^ a b VT's timetables.
  7. ^ Thirtieth Supplemental Agreement Network Rail
  8. ^ - London Rail Authority
  9. ^ - Walsall - Birmingham Timetable
  10. ^ "Stourbridge Town Car timetable up to 16 May 09". London Midland. Retrieved 4 January 2009. 
  11. ^ London Midland's route map and timetables.
  12. ^ "Save Wolverhampton to Walsall Rail Services". RMT Union. Retrieved 2 June 2009. 
  13. ^ "Black Country rail service faces funding axe". Birmingham Post. 25 July 2008. Retrieved 2 June 2009. 
  14. ^ Passenger Services Over Unusual Lines 2014
  15. ^ "Lack of passengers brings cut to service". Worcester News. 4 September 2009.
  16. ^ [1][not in citation given]
  17. ^ a b Miles, Tony (December 2010). "Blackpool through service proposed in West Coast path frenzy". Modern Railways (London). p. 6. 
  18. ^ Application for Section 22A amendment track access agreement. London Midland application.
  19. ^ London & Birmingham Railway Limited: application for approval of track access rights Office of Rail Regulation letter 10 March 2011
  20. ^ "Faster and bigger trains on London service". Lichfield Mercury. 31 March 2012.
  21. ^ "Improving our services". London Midland. 2010. Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  22. ^ "London Midland reveals new timetable and additional seating across network". Birmingham mail. 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  23. ^ "London Midland staff shortages cancel trains". BBC News. 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  24. ^ "More London Midland trains hit by driver shortage". BBC News. 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  25. ^ "London Midland driver shortage hits 37 trains". BBC news. 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2012. 
  26. ^ "Performance London Midland". London Midland. 
  27. ^ "Performance Network Rail". Network rail. 
  28. ^ "£10m investment in West Midlands transport". Insider Media Limited. 30 September 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  29. ^ Improvements on the way for passengers as Govia wins the West Midlands rail franchise London Midland News 6 November 2007
  30. ^ Parry People Movers for Stourbridge branch line London Midland News 14 December 2007
  31. ^ Twenty seven new trains for London Midland London Midland News 13 December 2007
  32. ^ Porterbrook purchases new Siemens Class 350 Desiro trains for West Midlands Franchise London Midland News 6 November 2007
  33. ^ "Siemens unveils Desiros for London Midland". Rail (603) (Peterborough). October 2008. 
  34. ^ "London Midland's 321 trains get a fresh coat of paint" (Press release). London Midland. 11 June 2009. 
  35. ^ "London Midland to introduce more seats for London commuters" (Press release). London Midland. 1 October 2009. 
  36. ^ "Delay to new Class 139 Parry People Mover service" (Press release). London Midland. 5 December 2008. 
  37. ^ "The fleet's in! Class 139 enters service at Stourbridge" (Newsletter). Parry News. Parry People Movers. July 2009. 
  38. ^ Freedom of Information Act Request - F0007261 Department for Transport letter 24 January 2011
  39. ^ Samuel, A. (15 September 2011). "New rolling stock for London Midland & First TransPennine Express". 
  40. ^ "Extra trains and faster journey times will boost capacity" (Press release). Department for Transport. 29 February 2012. 
  41. ^ "London Midland's new trains bring extra capacity and faster journeys" (Press release). London Midland. 29 February 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Central Trains
Central Trains franchise
Operator of West Midlands franchise
2007 - 2017
Preceded by
North London Railways franchise