11 Nov 2007 – 24 Jun 2017
|Main region(s):||London, West Midlands|
|Other region(s):||North West, East Midlands|
|Stations called at:||146|
|Passenger km 2007/8:||591.5 million|
|Route km operated:||867.4|
|National Rail abbreviation:||LM|
|Parent company:||Govia (Go-Ahead/Keolis)|
London Midland operates commuter services on the West Coast Main Line at London Euston to and from 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 but in March 2013 was extended until June 2017.
London Midland's services are divided between two sub-brands, London Midland Express and London Midland City.
London Midland Express
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 (two hourly), 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. Journey times are 1 hour longer than Virgin Trains which calls at certain stations. One train each hour additionally terminates at Northampton. In the southbound direction there is three trains per hour from Birmingham New Street to London Euston.
Every hour to Milton Keynes calling at Watford Junction, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Tring, Cheddington, Leighton Buzzard, then Bletchley and Milton Keynes Central.
Every half-hour to Tring, calling at Harrow & Wealdstone, Bushey, Watford Junction, Kings Langley, Apsley, Hemel Hempstead, and Berkhamsted. Journey times are about 45 minutes end to end. Peak services have many different calling points and also run every twenty minutes during peak times.
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).
London Midland has introduced an evening peak Watford Shuttle service to Watford Junction calling at Harrow and Wealdstone and Bushey.
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.
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.
The London Midland Express brand is also used for two branches off the WCML:
- The Marston Vale Line (from Bletchley to Bedford). Operates roughly every hour, all stations.
- The St Albans Branch Line (from Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey). Every 45 minutes, all stations.
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; however, this route was included within the London Midland franchise.
London Midland City
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 Street – Northampton. Hourly, calling at Marston Green, Birmingham International, Hampton-in-Arden, Berkswell, Tile Hill, Canley, Coventry, Rugby and Long Buckby. Peak services have various different calling points and run every 15 minutes, but all Birmingham-Northampton services call at Marston Green, Birmingham International, Tile Hill, Coventry, Rugby and Long Buckby.
- Birmingham New Street – Wolverhampton. Half-hourly, all stops.
- Lichfield – Birmingham New Street - Redditch (the Cross-City Line). Every ten minutes between Longbridge and Four Oaks, every half hour to Redditch, 4 trains an hour to Lichfield City and every half hour to Lichfield Trent Valley.
- Birmingham New Street - Walsall - Rugeley (the Chase Line). Every 15 minutes, with hourly extensions to Rugeley [half-hourly in peak hours].
- 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.
- Birmingham New Street – Hereford via Bromsgrove. Hourly off-peak, half-hourly peak. Semi-fast.
- Worcester - Birmingham Snow Hill – Leamington 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 Junction – Stourbridge Town (the Stourbridge Branch Line). Every ten minutes.
- Coventry – Nuneaton. Hourly.
London Midland operates several "limited stop" stations, where only a handful of trains a day call.
- Hartlebury; six trains a day Monday-Saturday, peak only, no Sunday service.
- Bordesley, one train per week on a Saturday (a parliamentary train), plus football specials.
- Polesworth; one train per day (a parliamentary train).
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:
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. 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. There is only one early morning train on Saturdays from Wolverhampton to Walsall (Parliamentary service). London Midland advised that passengers should use Travel West Midlands buses instead. The rolling stock was re-allocated to the new Worcester - Gloucester service.
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.
In October 2010 London Midland applied to the Office of Rail Regulation to run a new hourly Birmingham to Preston service from 2012 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. This was rejected by the Office of Rail Regulation. London Midland also sought to run additional evening and Sunday trains between Euston and Crewe, to satisfy what the company says is unmet demand. From April 2012 London Midland began operating an hourly Euston to Crewe service on Sundays.
The company has stated that it experienced many breakdowns due to the outdated rolling stock it inherited and which it has now replaced. The services to London have received more attention, although the neglect of the local Midland services outside of Birmingham has led to the company having some of the lowest performance rates of any British rail franchise. The company has seen marked improvements in customer satisfaction rates during 2010, with train frequency, reliability and value all rising by 11% in the customers' eyes. The state of onboard toilet facilities, however, showed no marked improvement.
In the summer and autumn of 2012 many services suffered cancellations owing to a shortage of train operating staff.
Punctuality has continued to be a problem for London Midland, with overall punctuality for the period 11 November 2012 to 8 December 2012 falling to 77%, slowly rising to a high of 90.2% for the period 1 April 2013 to 27 April 2013, before falling again to hit a low of 76% 10 November 2013 to 7 December 2013. Average punctuality since winning the franchise is 87%.
However, punctuality figures for London Midland are heavily distorted by their propensity to "express" late-running services to ensure they reach their journey end-point on time, since punctuality statistics are based solely on time of arrival at the final destination of a given service.
This propensity for "expressing" services regularly leaves passengers stranded at stations other than their intended destination, usually with no alternative but to wait for the next service. Due to overcrowding levels at peak times, this can often result in offloaded passengers needing to wait for a number of trains to pass through before there is sufficient capacity to board.
The continuing levels of poor service saw hordes of disgruntled passengers come together creating a group called LondonMidlandItsNotFare and holding a protest event for every passenger to email the Managing Director Patrick Verwer voicing their concerns on 5th November 2014. The event was heavily publicised on social media with an ultimate aim of removing the franchise from London Midland to be placed back in the hands of Directly Owned Railways.
The Stratford signalling problems of mid November 2014 once again highlighted several weaknesses in London Midland's contingency planning and communication with passengers. Passengers at Birmingham Moor Street were particularly affected with trains scheduled to stop there being withdrawn from service within moments of them arriving at the station. Information provided to passengers by the London Midland website, Twitter feed and in-station Passenger Information Screens was inconsistent and misleading.
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.
A franchise commitment was to replace all of the Class 150s and Class 321s.
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.
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 and London Euston.
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. The two railcars finally entered full passenger service in June 2009.
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. 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. 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 Class 350/4s with First TransPennine Express.
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.
- London Midland website. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
- Companies House extract company no 5814584 London & Birmingham Railway Limited
- "Railway plan puts new focus on passengers" Secretary of State for Transport statement 26 March 2013
- "Our Network". London Midland.com. London Midland. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
- VT's timetables.
- Thirtieth Supplemental Agreement Network Rail
- alwaystouchout.com - London Rail Authority
- "Stourbridge Town Car timetable up to 16 May 09". London Midland. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
- London Midland's route map and timetables.
- "Save Wolverhampton to Walsall Rail Services". RMT Union. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
- "Black Country rail service faces funding axe". Birmingham Post. 25 July 2008. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
- Passenger Services Over Unusual Lines 2014
- "Lack of passengers brings cut to service". Worcester News. 4 September 2009.
- Miles, Tony (December 2010). "Blackpool through service proposed in West Coast path frenzy". Modern Railways (London). p. 6.
- Application for Section 22A amendment track access agreement. London Midland application.
- London & Birmingham Railway Limited: application for approval of track access rights Office of Rail Regulation letter 10 March 2011
- "Faster and bigger trains on London service". Lichfield Mercury. 31 March 2012.
- "Improving our services". London Midland. 2010. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
- "Performance". London Midland. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
- Passenger Focus, Passenger Voice Rail Newsletter, Summer 2010.
- London Midland staff shortgaes cancel trains BBC News 2 October 2012
- "£10m investment in West Midlands transport". Insider Media Limited. 30 September 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
- Improvements on the way for passengers as Govia wins the West Midlands rail franchise London Midland News 6 November 2007
- Parry People Movers for Stourbridge branch line London Midland News 14 December 2007
- Twenty seven new trains for London Midland London Midland News 13 December 2007
- Porterbrook purchases new Siemens Class 350 Desiro trains for West Midlands Franchise London Midland News 6 November 2007
- "Siemens unveils Desiros for London Midland". Rail (603) (Peterborough). October 2008.
- "London Midland's 321 trains get a fresh coat of paint" (Press release). London Midland. 11 June 2009.
- "London Midland to introduce more seats for London commuters" (Press release). London Midland. 1 October 2009.
- "Delay to new Class 139 Parry People Mover service" (Press release). London Midland. 5 December 2008.
- "The fleet's in! Class 139 enters service at Stourbridge" (Newsletter). Parry News. Parry People Movers. July 2009.
- Freedom of Information Act Request - F0007261 Department for Transport letter 24 January 2011
- Samuel, A. (15 September 2011). "New rolling stock for London Midland & First TransPennine Express". Rail.co.
- "Extra trains and faster journey times will boost capacity" (Press release). Department for Transport. 29 February 2012.
- "London Midland's new trains bring extra capacity and faster journeys" (Press release). London Midland. 29 February 2012.
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Central Trains franchise
|Operator of West Midlands franchise
2007 - 2017
North London Railways franchise