London Midland

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London Midland
Londonmidlandlogo.jpg
350252 at Watford Junction.jpg
Info
Franchise(s): West Midlands
11 Nov 2007 – 24 Jun 2017
Main region(s): West Midlands
Other region(s): North West, London, 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: www.londonmidland.com
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An outdated map of the London Midland Network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 the United Kingdom owned by Govia operating the West Midlands franchise.

London Midland operates services on the West Coast Main Line from London Euston previously run by Silverlink and in the West Midlands previously run by Central Trains. The franchise was originally due to expire in September 2015 but in March 2013 was extended until June 2017.[3]

Services[edit]

London Midland's services are divided between two sub-brands, London Midland Express and London Midland City.[4]

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, calling at either Smethwick Galton Bridge or Coseley (alternating to give each an hourly express service), Wolverhampton, Penkridge (hourly service), Stafford, Crewe, Winsford (hourly/two hourly service), Hartford, (hourly service, although frequency improves in the morning and evening peak), Acton Bridge (two hourly service), Runcorn, and Liverpool South Parkway. Journey times vary between approx. 1½ hours and 1¾ hours.

Every 20 minutes to Birmingham New Street, calling at Watford Junction (hourly), Hemel Hempstead (hourly), Berkhamsted (hourly), Leighton Buzzard, Bletchley, Milton Keynes Central, Wolverton, Northampton, Long Buckby, Rugby, Coventry, Canley, Tile Hill, Berkswell, Birmingham International and Marston Green. Journey times are about an hour longer than Virgin Trains' service, which calls only at the main stations.

Every 30 minutes to Milton Keynes calling at Watford Junction, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Tring, Cheddington, Leighton Buzzard, then Bletchley and Milton Keynes Central. Southern Trains operates a similar service on part of this route, with an hourly service between Harrow & Wealdstone and Milton Keynes, from East Croydon via Olympia. At peak times, London Midland has introduced a "Watford Shuttle" service, calling at Harrow & Wealdstone and Bushey.

Every 30 minutes 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 may not call at some stations stated above.

Hourly, off-peak, calling at Milton Keynes Central, Rugby, Nuneaton, Polesworth (served only by one northbound Parliamentary train service per day), 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).[5]

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.[5]

Until December 2012 the Euston - Crewe services operated via Northampton. By operating via the fast lines up to 30 minutes was cut from the journey time.[6]

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;[7] 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. Every 20 minutes, with many trains continuing to London. Stopping patterns vary, but all trains 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 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.[8]
  • CoventryNuneaton. Hourly.

Smaller stations[edit]

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

These include:[9]

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

Former services[edit]

170511 at Gloucester. The London Midland service to Gloucester was withdrawn in December 2009.

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.[10] 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.[11] There is only one early morning train on Saturdays from Wolverhampton to Walsall (Parliamentary service).[12] London Midland advised that passengers should use Travel West Midlands buses instead. The rolling stock was re-allocated to the new Worcester - Gloucester service.[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.[13]

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 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.[14][15] This was rejected by the Office of Rail Regulation.[16] London Midland also sought to run additional evening and Sunday trains between Euston and Crewe, to satisfy what the company says is unmet demand.[14] From April 2012 London Midland began operating an hourly Euston to Crewe service on Sundays.[17]

Performance[edit]

The company has stated that it experienced many breakdowns due to the outdated rolling stock it inherited and which it has now replaced.[18] The services to London have received more attention,[citation needed] although the neglect of the local Midland services outside of Birmingham[citation needed] has led to the company having some of the lowest performance rates of any British rail franchise.[19] 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.[20]

In the summer and autumn of 2012 many services suffered cancellations owing to a shortage of train operating staff.[21]

Punctuality has now started to stabilize and return to previous levels. The most recent performance figures for London Midland released by NR (Network Rail) show that punctuality rose from 86.1% PPM (period 7 last year) to 88.7% PPM (period 7 this year).[22] The MAA (moving annual average) up to 12 October 2013 recovered slightly and now stands at 85.3%.

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.[23]

Rolling stock[edit]

London Midland retained seven Class 321s for both the Abbey Flyer Watford Junction - St Albans Abbey branch and 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.[24]

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.[25][26][27]

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.[28] 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 and London Euston.[29][30]

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.[31] The two railcars finally entered full passenger service in June 2009.[32]

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.[33] The other Class 150s were transferred to First Great Western and Northern Rail.

Current fleet[edit]

Class Image Type Cars per set Top speed Number Routes operated Built
mph km/h
Class 139 Parry People Mover Stourbridge Town railway station MMB 11 139001.jpg LPG railcar 1 40 64 2 Stourbridge Town Branch Line 2008
Class 150/1 Sprinter Bedford railway station MMB 22 150109.jpg DMU 2 75 121 3 Marston Vale Line 1984–1987
Class 153 Super Sprinter Newquay - FGW 153333 in London Midland livery.jpg 1 75 121 8 Marston Vale Line
Coventry – Nuneaton
Snow Hill Lines
Birmingham – Rugeley
Birmingham – Shrewsbury
1987–1988
Converted 1991–1992
Class 170/5 Turbostar Birmingham MMB 20 Proof House Junction 170501 170516.jpg 2 100 161 17 Birmingham – Hereford
Birmingham – Shrewsbury
Birmingham – Rugeley
1999–2000
Class 170/6 Turbostar 170631 at Shrewsbury - DSC08281.JPG 3 100 161 6 Birmingham – Hereford
Birmingham – Shrewsbury
Birmingham – Rugeley
Snow Hill Lines
1999–2000
Class 172/2 Turbostar Solihull - London Midland 172222.jpg 2 100 161 12 Snow Hill Lines 2011
Class 172/3 Turbostar Birmingham Moor Street - London Midland 172333 Dorridge service.jpg 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
1989–1990
Class 323 Birmingham New Street railway station MMB 22 323220.jpg 3 90 145 26 Redditch – Lichfield Trent Valley
Wolverhampton – Walsall via Birmingham
Birmingham – Coventry
1992–1993
Class 350/1 Desiro Smethwick Galton Bridge railway station MMB 01 350118.jpg 4 110 177 30 London – Birmingham
Birmingham – Liverpool

London – Tring/Milton Keynes
London – Crewe

London – Northampton
Northampton – Birmingham
2004–2005
Class 350/2 Desiro Crewe railway station MMB 23 350255.jpg 4 100 161 37 2008–2009
London Midland replaced the area's older trains, including the Class 150s that operated the Snow Hill and Marston Vale lines

Future fleet[edit]

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.[34]

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.[35][36]

Class Type Number Introduced
Class 350/3 Desiro EMU 10 x 4-car sets 2013

Depots[edit]

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]

References[edit]

  1. ^ London Midland website. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
  2. ^ Companies House extract company no 5814584 London & Birmingham Railway Limited
  3. ^ "Railway plan puts new focus on passengers" Secretary of State for Transport statement 26 March 2013
  4. ^ "Our Network". London Midland.com. London Midland. Retrieved 2 June 2009. 
  5. ^ a b VT's timetables.
  6. ^ Thirtieth Supplemental Agreement Network Rail
  7. ^ alwaystouchout.com - London Rail Authority
  8. ^ "Stourbridge Town Car timetable up to 16 May 09". London Midland. Retrieved 4 January 2009. 
  9. ^ London Midland's route map and timetables.
  10. ^ "Save Wolverhampton to Walsall Rail Services". RMT Union. Retrieved 2 June 2009. 
  11. ^ "Black Country rail service faces funding axe". Birmingham Post. 25 July 2008. Retrieved 2 June 2009. 
  12. ^ Passenger Services Over Unusual Lines 2014
  13. ^ "Lack of passengers brings cut to service". Worcester News. 4 September 2009.
  14. ^ a b Miles, Tony (December 2010). "Blackpool through service proposed in West Coast path frenzy". Modern Railways (London). p. 6. 
  15. ^ Application for Section 22A amendment track access agreement. London Midland application.
  16. ^ London & Birmingham Railway Limited: application for approval of track access rights Office of Rail Regulation letter 10 March 2011
  17. ^ "Faster and bigger trains on London service". Lichfield Mercury. 31 March 2012.
  18. ^ "Improving our services". London Midland. 2010. Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  19. ^ "Performance". London Midland. Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  20. ^ Passenger Focus, Passenger Voice Rail Newsletter, Summer 2010.
  21. ^ London Midland staff shortgaes cancel trains BBC News 2 October 2012
  22. ^ "Rail performance results period 7". Network Rail. 
  23. ^ http://www.insidermedia.com/insider/midlands/99541-10m-investment-west-midlands-transport
  24. ^ Improvements on the way for passengers as Govia wins the West Midlands rail franchise London Midland News 6 November 2007
  25. ^ Parry People Movers for Stourbridge branch line London Midland News 14 December 2007
  26. ^ Twenty seven new trains for London Midland London Midland News 13 December 2007
  27. ^ Porterbrook purchases new Siemens Class 350 Desiro trains for West Midlands Franchise London Midland News 6 November 2007
  28. ^ "Siemens unveils Desiros for London Midland". Rail (603) (Peterborough). October 2008. 
  29. ^ "London Midland's 321 trains get a fresh coat of paint" (Press release). London Midland. 11 June 2009. 
  30. ^ "London Midland to introduce more seats for London commuters" (Press release). London Midland. 1 October 2009. 
  31. ^ "Delay to new Class 139 Parry People Mover service" (Press release). London Midland. 5 December 2008. 
  32. ^ "The fleet's in! Class 139 enters service at Stourbridge" (Newsletter). Parry News. Parry People Movers. July 2009. 
  33. ^ Freedom of Information Act Request - F0007261 Department for Transport letter 24 January 2011
  34. ^ Samuel, A. (15 September 2011). "New rolling stock for London Midland & First TransPennine Express". Rail.co. 
  35. ^ "Extra trains and faster journey times will boost capacity" (Press release). Department for Transport. 29 February 2012. 
  36. ^ "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
Incumbent
Preceded by
Silverlink
North London Railways franchise