West Midlands Trains
350232 in the transitional LNR livery at Watford Junction
10 December 2017 – March 2026
|Main region(s)||West Midlands|
|Other region(s)||North West|
|Fleet size||West Midlands Railway|
|Stations called at||178|
|Parent company||Abellio (70%)|
JR East (15%)
Mitsui & Co. (15%)
West Midlands Trains (WMT) is a train operating company in the United Kingdom. It operates passenger trains on the West Midlands franchise between London and the English Midlands under two trade names: West Midlands Railway (WMR) (within the West Midlands region) and London Northwestern Railway (LNR) (outside the region).
In April 2016, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced the shortlist of bidders for the West Midlands franchise, comprising the incumbent operator Govia, MTR Corporation, and West Midlands Trains: a consortium of Abellio (70%), JR East (15%) and Mitsui (15%). In July 2016, MTR Corporation withdrew from the bidding process.
The invitation to tender was issued in August 2016. In August 2017, the West Midlands Trains consortium was awarded the franchise, and it took over from London Midland on 10 December 2017. The franchise is scheduled to run until March 2026.
Unlike the previous London Midland franchise, which was solely accountable to the DfT, West Midlands is also accountable for services that operate wholly within the West Midlands region to West Midlands Rail Executive, a group of 16 local authorities. However, DfT must still approve any changes West Midlands Rail wish to make until the franchise is re-let.
WMT services are split into two businesses which operate under two distinct sub-brands. Train services running on the West Coast Main Line, including those running to/from London Euston, Liverpool Lime Street and Crewe, operate under the London Northwestern Railway brand. This name was chosen in tribute to the former London & North Western Railway (LNWR), the company that operated services on the route between 1846 and 1922. Branding of trains and associated publicity use a green colour scheme with a logo composed of the letters L, N and W.
Services running in Birmingham and the West Midlands region – previously operated by London Midland under the London Midland City brand – are operated by WMT under the West Midlands Railway brand. WMT have chosen to operate these services as a distinct business unit in order to facilitate a possible future devolution of these services from the national DfT to the West Midlands Combined Authority. These services bear an orange and purple colour scheme and are branded with a hexagonal "WM" monogram adopted as part of a shared branding initiative under Transport for West Midlands, in which several transport modes in the West Midlands County use similar branding to emphasise integrated transport. Each mode bears a variant of the "WM" logo: West Midlands Buses use a red logo, West Midlands Metro trams use a blue logo, cycling initiatives are branded with a green logo, West Midlands Railway bears an orange logo, and the West Midlands Rail Executive uses a turquoise logo.
London Northwestern Railway services
- services out of London Euston;
- branch line services off the West Coast main line.
Oyster card and contactless card payments can be used on London Northwestern Railway at Watford Junction, Bushey, Harrow & Wealdstone, Wembley Central and Euston stations.
As of December 2020, the typical off-peak weekday London Northwestern Railway service pattern, with frequencies in trains per hour (tph), includes: 
|West Coast Main Line|
|London Euston – Tring||2||Wembley Central (limited service)[a], Harrow & Wealdstone, Bushey, Watford Junction, Kings Langley, Apsley, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted||319|
|London Euston – Milton Keynes Central||1||Watford Junction, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Tring (London-bound only), Cheddington, Leighton Buzzard, Bletchley|
|London Euston – Northampton||1||Watford Junction, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Tring (Northampton-bound only), Leighton Buzzard, Bletchley, Milton Keynes Central, Wolverton|
|London Euston – Birmingham New Street||1||Leighton Buzzard, Bletchley, Milton Keynes Central, Wolverton, Northampton, Long Buckby, Rugby, Coventry, Canley, Tile Hill, Berkswell, Hampton-in-Arden, Birmingham International, Marston Green (Birmingham-bound only)||350|
|Northampton – Birmingham New Street||1||Long Buckby, Rugby, Coventry, Canley, Tile Hill, Berkswell, Hampton-in-Arden, Birmingham International, Marston Green|
|London Euston – Crewe||1||Milton Keynes Central, Rugby, Nuneaton, Atherstone, Polesworth (limited service)[b], Tamworth, Lichfield Trent Valley, Rugeley Trent Valley, Stafford|
|Birmingham New Street – Crewe||1||Wolverhampton, Penkridge, Stafford, Stone, Stoke-on-Trent, Kidsgrove, Alsager|
|Birmingham New Street – Liverpool Lime Street||1||Smethwick Galton Bridge, Wolverhampton, Penkridge, Stafford, Crewe, Winsford, Hartford, Acton Bridge (irregular service)[c], Runcorn, Liverpool South Parkway|
|Watford Junction – St Albans Abbey||4⁄3||Watford North, Garston, Bricket Wood, How Wood, Park Street
runs roughly every 45 minutes
|Marston Vale Line|
|Bletchley – Bedford||1||Fenny Stratford, Bow Brickhill, Woburn Sands, Aspley Guise, Ridgmont, Lidlington, Millbrook, Stewartby, Kempston Hardwick, Bedford St Johns
Train services run roughly every 2-hours during the day, supplemented with a rail-replacement bus service in the other hours. The bus service consists of two services: an all-stops service, and a service that skips Fenny Stratford, Aspley Guise, Millbrook and Kempston Hardwick
- Wembley Central served by 1 train per day, except Saturdays, when it is served hourly
- Polesworth served by one train per day, northbound-only
- Acton Bridge is served most hours, but there are some 2-hour gaps in service
West Midlands Railway services
As of December 2020, the typical off-peak weekday West Midlands Railway service pattern, with frequencies in trains per hour (tph), includes: 
|Birmingham – Shrewsbury|
|Birmingham New Street – Shrewsbury||1||Sandwell & Dudley, Wolverhampton, Bilbrook, Codsall, Albrighton, Cosford, Shifnal, Telford Central, Oakengates, Wellington||170|
|Birmingham New Street – Hereford||1||University, Bromsgrove, Droitwich Spa, Worcester Foregate Street, Malvern Link, Great Malvern, Colwall, Ledbury||170|
|Lichfield Trent Valley – Bromsgrove||2||Lichfield City, Shenstone, Blake Street, Butlers Lane, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield, Wylde Green, Chester Road, Erdington, Gravelly Hill, Aston, Birmingham New Street, Five Ways, University, Selly Oak, Bournville, Kings Norton, Northfield, Longbridge, Barnt Green (1tph)||323|
|Four Oaks – Redditch||2||Sutton Coldfield, Wylde Green, Chester Road, Erdington, Gravelly Hill, Aston, Duddeston, Birmingham New Street, Five Ways, University, Selly Oak, Bournville, Kings Norton, Northfield, Longbridge, Barnt Green, Alvechurch|
|Chase Line & West Coast Main Line|
|Birmingham International – Birmingham New Street||1||Marston Green, Lea Hall, Stechford||323|
|Birmingham New Street – Rugeley Trent Valley||1||Tame Bridge Parkway, Walsall, Bloxwich, Bloxwich North, Landywood, Cannock, Hednesford, Rugeley Town|
|Birmingham International – Rugeley Trent Valley||1||Marston Green, Lea Hall, Stechford, Adderley Park, Birmingham New Street, Tame Bridge Parkway, Bescot Stadium, Walsall, Bloxwich, Bloxwich North, Landywood, Cannock, Hednesford, Rugeley Town|
|Wolverhampton – Birmingham New Street||1||Coseley, Tipton, Dudley Port, Sandwell and Dudley, Smethwick Galton Bridge, Smethwick Rolfe Street|
|Birmingham New Street – Walsall||1||Duddeston, Aston, Witton, Perry Barr, Hamstead, Tame Bridge Parkway, Bescot Stadium|
|Wolverhampton – Walsall||1||Coseley, Tipton, Dudley Port, Sandwell and Dudley, Smethwick Galton Bridge, Smethwick Rolfe Street, Birmingham New Street, Duddleston, Aston, Whitton, Perry Barr, Hamstead, Tame Bridge Parkway, Bescot Stadium|
|Snow Hill lines|
|Stratford-upon-Avon – Stourbridge Junction||1||Stratford-upon-Avon Parkway, Dorridge, Widney Manor, Solihull, Olton, Acocks Green, Tyseley (Stourbridge-bound only), Small Heath (Stourbridge-bound only), Birmingham Moor Street, Birmingham Snow Hill, Jewellery Quarter, The Hawthorns, Smethwick Galton Bridge, Langley Green, Rowley Regis, Old Hill, Cradley Heath, Lye||172|
|1||Stratford-upon-Avon Parkway, Wilmcote, Wootton Wawen,[a] Henley-in-Arden, Danzey,[a] Wood End,[a] The Lakes,[a] Earlswood, Wythall, Whitlocks End, Shirley, Yardley Wood, Hall Green, Spring Road, Tyseley (Stourbridge-bound only), Small Heath (Stourbridge-bound only), Birmingham Moor Street, Birmingham Snow Hill, Jewellery Quarter, The Hawthorns, Smethwick Galton Bridge, Langley Green, Rowley Regis, Old Hill, Cradley Heath, Lye|
|Whitlocks End – Kidderminster||1||Shirley, Yardley Wood, Hall Green, Spring Road, Tyseley (Whitlocks End-bound only), Small Heath (Whitlocks End-bound only), Birmingham Moor Street, Birmingham Snow Hill, Jewellery Quarter, The Hawthorns, Smethwick Galton Bridge, Rowley Regis, Cradley Heath, Stourbridge Junction, Hagley, Blakedown|
|Dorridge – Worcester Shrub Hill[b]||1||Widney Manor, Solihull, Olton, Acocks Green, Tyseley (Dorridge-bound only), Small Heath (Dorridge-bound only), Birmingham Moor Street, Birmingham Snow Hill, Jewellery Quarter, The Hawthorns, Smethwick Galton Bridge, Rowley Regis, Cradley Heath, Stourbridge Junction, Hagley, Kidderminster, Hartlebury, Droitwich Spa|
|Stourbridge Junction – Stourbridge Town||6||shuttle||139|
|Leamington Spa – Nuneaton||1||Kenilworth, Coventry, Coventry Arena, Bedworth, Bermuda Park
Trains run every 2 hours, with service in the other hour provided by 3 rail-replacement bus services: Leamington Spa - Nuneaton (both directions), Coventry - Leamington Spa (southbound-only) and Coventry - Nuneaton (northbound-only).
- Request stop
- Most services start/terminate at Shrub Hill; however some do so at Worcester Foregate Street instead with some trains serving both stations by running to/from Foregate Street via Shrub Hill, where trains reverse before continuing. Additional services are extended to Great Malvern, calling at Malvern Link.
Future changes include:
- extension of the Birmingham to Wolverhampton service to Crewe via Stoke-on-Trent. This will replace the London Euston to Crewe service via Stoke-on-Trent that will operate directly from Stafford to Crewe via the West Coast Main Line. The change of this service has angered councillors in Staffordshire as to the loss of the direct service (although Avanti West Coast will continue to operate a London-bound service through Stoke-on-Trent). The change of service is necessitated by West Midlands Trains increasing the number of carriages up to twelve in peak hours, which makes stopping at Alsager, Stone and Kidsgrove impossible due to the platforms not being long enough to take 12-car trains. West Midlands Rail have since stated these stations will retain a direct service to London taking a slower route via Birmingham and Northampton.
- reintroduction of calls at Barlaston and therefore closure of Wedgwood. This will mean the end of the long-standing rail replacement bus service. From 10 December 2017, the Stafford – Stoke-on-Trent rail replacement bus was cut back to run only between Stoke-on-Trent and Norton Bridge, via Wedgwood, Barlaston and Stone.
WMT inherited a fleet of Class 139, 150, 153, 170, 172, 319, 323 and 350 units from London Midland, but as the newer units come on stream, some will be returned to the leasing companies that own them.
Class 139 Parry People Movers
The concept of using the lightweight railcar dates from 2006 when a year-long pilot scheme began on the Stourbridge Town branch line on Sundays, using a Parry People Movers PPM50 unit constructed in 2002 and numbered as 999900 under TOPS. The success of this trial led to the provision of regular services using the technology in the franchise plans for the new West Midlands Franchise. Following the award of the franchise to London Midland, they placed an order for two PPM60 units with Parry People Movers, through Porterbrook, with the service itself operated for them by Pre Metro Operations.
These two units are 139 001 and 139 002, composed of vehicle numbers 39001 and 39002 in the British carriage and wagon numbering and classification system. The vehicles are mechanically similar to 999 900, but are approximately one metre longer. They were intended to start operating on the Stourbridge Town branch in 2008. In January 2009 it was confirmed that 139001 was still undergoing testing at Chasewater Railway and 139002 was still not completed.
Despite the difficulties in the commissioning of the two Class 139 units, London Midland consistently outlined its faith that they would be ready to enter service. In March 2009, it was announced that the first unit had received its passenger certification from Network Rail, allowing it to carry passengers. London Midland stated that they would begin a phased entry into service, starting with weekend operation in April, leading up to a full service by the timetable change in May 2009. Until then, London Midland temporarily returned a Class 153 to operating the branch service. 139 002 officially entered service on 29 March 2009 as part of the type's phased entry. This unit had previously worked in full service, including all-day on Monday 11 May 2009 and previously had worked all morning services during February/March 2009. In May 2009 the first unit, 139 001 was finally delivered to Stourbridge, with 999 900 removed at the same time. Test unit 999 900 had been on the branch line between 2005–2009. At the point of introduction, they displaced a single Class 153 DMU that was previously allocated to the branch line. By December 2009, the 200,000th passenger had been carried by the railcars.
Class 170 and 172 DMUs
West Midlands Trains operate a total of 35 two-car and three-car Class 172 units, 27 of which had been ordered by predecessor London Midland, who originally planned for them to enter service by the end of 2010 on services to and from Birmingham Snow Hill, replacing Class 150s. The original 27 sets have revised front ends with end gangways which make the trains look like the Electrostar family of units.
From 1 September 2011, the Class 172s started operating on the Snow Hill Lines with some weekend work from Birmingham – Hereford. When first used in service, the units suffered a fault with engine vibration in the passenger cabin, which has since been rectified.
The units were originally meant to replace all of the Class 150s, however three were retained until 2019 and moved on to Northern after the Class 172/0 and Class 230 units entered service. Between late 2018 and early 2019 West Midlands Railway inherited the London Overground 172/0s to replace the remaining Class 150s and Class 153s operating on the Coventry to Leamington line, the Coventry to Nuneaton line and Birmingham to Hereford. All had entered service by May 2019.
During November and December 2020, the centre vehicles of the Class 170/6 units have been removed from their consist. They will have a minor refurbishment: along with being reliveried externally, internally the vehicle will be changed to the house colours of the new operator CrossCountry. These vehicles will be used to extend some of their 2-carriage Class 170 units. The Class 170/6 units which remain at West Midlands Trains will be renumbered to reflect them becoming Class 170/5 units, before being moved to East Midlands Railway after the Class 196 units are introduced.
Class 230 D-Trains
West Midlands Trains are also the first operator of the Class 230, a new class of diesel electric multiple unit that are upcycled London Underground D78 Stock. WMT placed an order for three two-car units, which entered service in April 2019 on the Marston Vale Line.
Class 319, 323, and 350 EMUs
The Class 319, (some) Class 323 and all Class 350/2 units will be replaced by brand new Class 730 units.
|Trainset||Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Carriages||No.||Routes operated||Built|
|West Midlands Railway|
|Parry People Mover||139||Railcar||40||64||1||2||2009|
|London Northwestern Railway|
|Vivarail D-Train||230||DMU||60||97||2||3||2016–2018[nb 1]|
|Siemens Desiro||350/1||110||177||30||West Coast Main Line services:
West Midlands Trains has ordered 26 new CAF Civity diesel multiple units (80 carriages) and 81 electric multiple units based on Bombardier Transportation's Aventra platform (333 carriages), giving a total of 107 new trains for the operator. The new trains are set to be delivered to West Midlands Trains between 2020 and 2021.
Class 196 Civity
The Class 153 units left West Midlands Trains at the end of 2020, and the Class 170 units will move to East Midlands Railway, with the exception of the centre cars of the 170/6s moving to CrossCountry to lengthen its 170/5s.
Class 730 Aventra
Eighty-one Class 730 Aventras sets are to be purchased. They will be built at Derby Litchurch Lane Works. 36 3 carriage long trains will replace the Class 323 units. 45 5 carriage long trains will replace the Class 319 & Class 350/2 units.
|Trainset||Class||Image||Type||Top Speed||Carriages||Number||Route(s) to be operated||Built||In service|
|730/1||110||180||5||29||Electrified LNR suburban services|
|730/2||16||Long distance LNR services|
Former units operated by West Midlands Trains include:
|Sprinter||150/1||DMU||2||3||1985–1986||Transferred to Arriva Rail North||2019|
|Sprinter||153||DMU||1||8||1987-1988||Put into long-term storage||2020|
- Operated by London Northwestern Railway
- Operated by West Midlands Railway
- London Underground D78 Stock initially built between 1979 and 1983
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- Companies House extract company no 9860466 Archived 10 August 2017 at the Wayback Machine West Midlands Trains Limited
- "ORR Data Portal". Archived from the original on 19 June 2019. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
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- "Three shortlisted for next West Midlands franchise" Rail issue 799 27 April 2016 page 21
- Battle to run London Midland rail service down to two Archived 10 August 2017 at the Wayback Machine Birmingham Post 6 July 2016
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- West Midlands Trains announced as winning bidder for West Midlands franchise Archived 10 August 2017 at the Wayback Machine Abellio 10 August 2017
- Lea, Robert (11 August 2017). "Southern operator comes off the rails in West Midlands". The Times (72299). p. 37.
- More seats for rail passengers as nearly £1 billion is invested in Midlands services Archived 2 December 2020 at the Wayback Machine Department for Transport 10 August 2017
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- "Vivarail 230s for new West Midlands franchise as 170s to go" Today's Railways UK issue 191 November 2017 page 8
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- "PPMs ordered for Stourbridge branch". Rail. No. 581. 19 December 2007. p. 20.
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- Three more 150s for Northern Today's Railways UK issue 211 July 2019 page 64
Media related to West Midlands Trains at Wikimedia Commons
| Operator of West Midlands franchise
|past: Japanese Government Railways | Japanese National Railways | JNR Settlement Corporation|
|Passenger Railway Companies||JR Hokkaido||JR East||JR Central||JR-West||JR Shikoku||JR Kyushu|
|JR Bus Companies||JR Hokkaido Bus||JR Bus Tohoku
JR Bus Kanto
|JR Tokai Bus||West JR Bus
West Japan JR Bus Service
Chugoku JR Bus
Hikari Guru Rin Bus
|JR Shikoku Bus||JR Kyushu Bus|
|Smart cards||Kitaca||Suica||TOICA||ICOCA||ICOCA (SHIKOKU ICOCA)||SUGOCA|
|Others||JR Freight||RTRI||JR Systems|
|International operations||West Midlands Trains (JR East: 14.95%)|
|See also||Shinkansen - Railway Museum - Kyoto Railway Museum - SCMaglev and Railway Park - SoftBank Telecom|