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 Group (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 West Midlands 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. 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 will also be accountable for services that operate wholly within the West Midlands region to West Midlands Rail Executive, a group of 16 local authorities. However, the DfT will still need to approve any changes West Midlands Rail wish to make until the franchise is relet, by which time West Midlands Rail will award the future franchise for services wholly within the West Midlands region.
WMT services are split into two businesses which operate under two distinct sub-brands. Longer-distance 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 under the London Midland City brand — are operated by WMT under the West Midlands Railway brand. These services bear an orange and purple colour scheme and are branded with a hexagonal "WM" monogram. 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. The hexagonal "WM" logo has been adopted as part of a shared branding initiative under Transport for West Midlands, in which other transport modes in the West Midlands have been branded with a common identity to emphasise integrated transport. Each mode bears a coloured 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 Trains bears an orange logo, and the West Midlands Rail Executive is in turquoise.
West Midlands Trains operate all train services previously run by London Midland. Trains operate under one of the company's two brand names depending on route.
London Northwestern Railway
- suburban and regional services out of London Euston;
- services between Birmingham and Liverpool;
- services on rural lines that branch 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 19 May 2019, the typical off-peak weekday London Northwestern Railway service pattern, with frequencies in trains per hour (tph), include:
|London suburban routes|
|London Euston – Tring||2||Wembley Central (1tph), 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 (London-bound only), Leighton Buzzard, Bletchley|
|Mainline (via Northampton and Birmingham New Street)|
|London Euston – Birmingham New Street via Northampton||3||Watford Junction (2tph), Hemel Hempstead (1tph), Berkhamsted (1tph), Tring (1tph on Birmingham-bound only), Cheddington (1tph on Birmingham-bound only), Leighton Buzzard (2tph), Bletchley (2tph), Milton Keynes Central, Wolverton (2tph), Northampton, Long Buckby, Rugby, Coventry, Canley (2tph), Tile Hill, Berkswell (2tph), Hampton-in-Arden (2tph), Birmingham International, Marston Green, Lea Hall (1tph), Stechford (1tph)
Trains continue beyond Birmingham New Street (see below).
|Birmingham International – Birmingham New Street||1||Lea Hall, Stechford, Adderley Park|
Trains continue beyond Birmingham New Street (see below).
Services running to/from Birmingham New Street are combined, which gives through services between London (as above) and Rugeley/Liverpool/Crewe (as below).
|Birmingham New Street – Rugeley Trent Valley||2||Tame Bridge Parkway, Bescot Stadium (1tph), Walsall, Bloxwich, Bloxwich North, Landywood, Cannock, Hednesford, Rugeley Town
Trains continue beyond Birmingham New Street (see above).
|Birmingham New Street – Liverpool Lime Street||2||Smethwick Galton Bridge (1tph), Coseley (1tph), Wolverhampton, Penkridge, Stafford, Crewe, Winsford (1tph), Hartford, Acton Bridge (limited service), Runcorn, Liverpool South Parkway|
Trains continue beyond Birmingham New Street (see above).
|Birmingham New Street – Crewe via Stoke-on-Trent||1||Smethwick Galton Bridge, Wolverhampton, Stafford, Stone, Stoke-on-Trent, Kidsgrove, Alsager|
Trains continue beyond Birmingham New Street (see above).
|Mainline (Trent Valley)|
|London Euston – Crewe via Tamworth||1||Milton Keynes Central, Rugby, Nuneaton, Atherstone, Polesworth (limited service), Tamworth, Lichfield Trent Valley, Rugeley Trent Valley, Stafford||350|
|Watford Junction – St Albans Abbey||-||Watford North, Garston, Bricket Wood, How Wood, Park Street
Irregular service; approximately every 45 minutes.
|Bletchley – Bedford||1||Fenny Stratford, Bow Brickhill, Woburn Sands, Aspley Guise, Ridgmont, Lidlington, Millbrook, Stewartby, Kempston Hardwick, Bedford St Johns||230|
West Midlands Railway
- suburban services centred around Birmingham;
- regional services between Birmingham and Shrewsbury/Hereford;
- the Leamington to Coventry and Coventry to Nuneaton branch lines.
|Birmingham New Street – Shrewsbury||1||Wolverhampton, Codsall, Shifnal, Telford Central, Wellington||170|
|1||Sandwell & Dudley, Wolverhampton, Bilbrook, Codsall, Albrighton, Cosford, Shifnal, Telford Central, Oakengates, Wellington|
|Birmingham New Street – Hereford||1||University, Barnt Green (limited service), Bromsgrove, Droitwich Spa, Worcester Foregate Street, Malvern Link, Great Malvern, Colwall, Ledbury||153,|
|Lichfield Trent Valley – Redditch||1||Lichfield City, 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, Alvechurch||323|
|1||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, Alvechurch|
|Four Oaks – Redditch||1||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|
|Lichfield Trent Valley – Bromsgrove||1||Lichfield City, 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 (Bromsgrove-bound only)|
|1||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 (Lichfield-bound only)|
|Four Oaks – Bromsgrove||1||Sutton Coldfield, Wylde Green, Chester Road, Erdington, Gravelly Hill, Aston, Duddeston, Birmingham New Street, Five Ways, University, Selly Oak, Bournville, Kings Norton, Northfield, Longbridge|
|Walsall – Wolverhampton via Aston||2||Bescot Stadium, Tame Bridge Parkway, Hamstead, Perry Barr, Witton, Aston, Duddeston, Birmingham New Street, Smethwick Rolfe Street, Smethwick Galton Bridge, Sandwell and Dudley, Dudley Port, Tipton, Coseley||323,|
|Snow Hill lines|
|Dorridge – Kidderminster||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, Blakedown||172|
|Stratford-upon-Avon – Worcester Shrub Hill or Worcester Foregate Street[a]||1||Stratford-upon-Avon Parkway, Wilmcote, Bearley (limited), Claverdon (limited), Dorridge, Widney Manor, Solihull, Olton, Acocks Green, Tyseley (Worcester-bound only), Small Heath (Worcester-bound only), Birmingham Moor Street, Birmingham Snow Hill, Jewellery Quarter, The Hawthorns, Smethwick Galton Bridge, Rowley Regis, Cradley Heath, Stourbridge Junction, Hagley (Dorridge-bound only), Kidderminster, Hartlebury, Droitwich Spa|
|Whitlocks End – Worcester Shrub Hill or Worcester Foregate Street[a]||1||Shirley, Yardley Wood, Hall Green, Spring Road, Tyseley (Worcester-bound only), Small Heath (Worcester-bound only), Bordesley (limited service), Birmingham Moor Street, Birmingham Snow Hill, Jewellery Quarter, The Hawthorns, Smethwick Galton Bridge, Rowley Regis, Cradley Heath, Stourbridge Junction, Hagley (Worcester-bound only), Kidderminster, Droitwich Spa|
|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|
|Stratford-upon-Avon – Stourbridge Junction via Whitlocks End||1||Stratford-upon-Avon Parkway, Wilmcote, Wootton Wawen,[b] Henley-in-Arden, Danzey,[b] Wood End,[b] The Lakes,[b] Earlswood, Wythall, Whitlocks End, Shirley, Yardley Wood, Hall Green, Spring Road, Birmingham Moor Street, Birmingham Snow Hill, Jewellery Quarter, The Hawthorns, Smethwick Galton Bridge, Langley Green, Rowley Regis, Old Hill, Cradley Heath, Lye|
|Stourbridge Junction – Stourbridge Town||6||shuttle||139|
|Leamington Spa – Nuneaton||1||Kenilworth, Coventry, Coventry Arena, Bedworth, Bermuda Park||172|
- There is no regular off-peak pattern for how Worcester is served. Some services start/terminate at Shrub Hill; some do so at Foregate Street; some trains serve both stations by running to/from Foregate Street via Shrub Hill, where trains reverse before continuing.
- Request stop
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 153, 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–Leamington line, the Coventry to Nuneaton line and Birmingham- Hereford. All had entered service by May 2019.
Class 230 D-Train
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, 323 and 350/2 units will be replaced after the arrival of Class 350/4 units from TransPennine Express and brand new Class 730 units.
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 will be returned off-lease 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
|Trainset||Class||Image||Type||Top Speed||Carriages||Number||Route(s) to be operated||Built||In service|
|Diesel multiple units|
|CAF Civity||196/0 & 196/2||DMU||100||160||2||12||2019–20||2020|
|Electric multiple units|
|Bombardier Aventra||730/0, 730/1 & 730/2||EMU||90||145||3||36||Redditch–Lichfield Trent Valley (WMR)
Bromsgrove–Lichfield Trent Valley (WMR)
|110||180||5||29||Electrified LNR suburban services|
|16||Long distance LNR services|
Former units operated by West Midlands Trains include:
|Sprinter||150/1||DMU||2||3||1985-86||Transferred to Arriva Rail North||2019|
- Operated by London Northwestern Railway
- Operated by West Midlands Railway
- London Underground D78 Stock initially built between 1979 and 1983
- "West Midlands Trains (WMT)". nationalrail.co.uk. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
- Companies House extract company no 9860466 West Midlands Trains Limited
- "ORR Data Portal".
- Contenders for West Midlands rail franchise revealed BBC News 9 April 2016
- East Japan Railway on LNWR franchise shortlist Railway Gazette International 7 April 2016
- "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 Birmingham Post 6 July 2016
- "MTR withdraws from West Midlands bidding" Modern Railways issue 815 August 2016 page 21
- West Midlands franchise ITT issued Railway Gazette International 30 August 2016
- West Midlands Trains announced as winning bidder for West Midlands franchise 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 Department for Transport 10 August 2017
- Abellio, JR East and Mitsui clinch West Midlands franchise International Railway Journal 10 August 2017
- "London Midland loses West Midlands rail franchise". BBC News. 10 August 2017. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
- Jones, Tamlyn (10 August 2017). "£1 billion rail investment as London Midland loses franchise". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
- West Midlands Trains announces London Northwestern brand Railway Gazette International 27 October 2017
- Witherow, John, ed. (27 October 2017). "Railway great returns". The Times (72365). p. 54. ISSN 0140-0460.
- Transport, Transport for West Midlands: Transforming Public. "A brand for the West Midlands – TfWM reveals new public transport identity". Transport for West Midlands. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
- Route Map
- Timetables - London Northwestern Railway
- Timetables - West Midlands Railway]
- West Midlands Railway (26 July 2018). "Up to three extra trains per hour for Bromsgrove". Retrieved 30 July 2018.
- Department for Transport announces new operator for West Midlands franchise The Sentinel 10 August 2017
- Harris, Jordan (19 August 2017). "Staffordshire forgotten in rail shake-up". Express & Star. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
- Staffordshire stations to keep direct London rail link BBC News 17 August 2017
- Moore, George (17 August 2018). "Barlaston Station – What we know". European Transport Blogging. Archived from the original on 6 September 2018.
- Clinnick, Richard (25 October 2017). "£680m deals agreed for new West Midlands trains". Rail Magazine. No. 838. Peterborough: Bauer Media. p. 12. ISSN 0953-4563.
- "Vivarail 230s for new West Midlands franchise as 170s to go" Today's Railways UK issue 191 November 2017 page 8
- "Parry People Mover starts in traffic at Stourbridge Town". Rail. No. 531. 18 January 2006. p. 15.
- "PPMs ordered for Stourbridge branch". Rail. No. 581. 19 December 2007. p. 20.
- "Class 139s enter service at Stourbridge". The Railway Magazine. No. 1301. September 2009. p. 139.
- "First D-Trains lined up for West Midlands Trains in 2018". Rail (UK). PressReader.com. 20 December 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
- First refurbished Class 323 for Northern Trains Railways Illustrated January 2020 page 9
- "West Midlands Trains" (PDF). Stourbridge Line User Group. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 October 2017. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
- Lea, Robert (17 October 2017). "Big Order for Bombardier Train Unit". The Times (72356). p. 43. ISSN 0140-0460.
- Gibbs, Nigel (November 2017). "Vivarail 230s for new West Mids franchise as 170s to go". Today's Railways (191): 8.
- "Bombardier and CAF win West Midlands train contracts". Railway Gazette International. 17 October 2017. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
- Milner, Chris (June 2019). "West Midlands Class 196 DMU construction underway". The Railway Magazine. Vol. 165 no. 1, 419. Horncastle: Mortons Media. p. 104. ISSN 0033-8923.
- "Bombardier and CAF win West Midlands train contracts". Railway Gazette International. 28 May 2018. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
- Fender, Keith; Sheratt, Philip (June 2018). "West Midlands prepares for new fleets". Modern Railways. 75 (837): 78.
- "Abellio, JR East and Mitsui announce £680m new trains for the next West Midlands Rail Franchise 413 electric and diesel carriages to be manufactured by Bombardier and CAF". Abellio. Abellio. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- Jones, Tamlyn (17 October 2017). "Over 100 new trains West Midlands trains – with wi-fi and speeds up to 110mph". Birmingham Post. Birmingham Post. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- 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|
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JR Bus Kanto
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Chugoku JR Bus
Hikari Guru Rin Bus
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|Smart cards||Kitaca||Suica||TOICA||ICOCA||ICOCA (SHIKOKU ICOCA)||SUGOCA|
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|International operations||West Midlands Trains (JR East: 14.95%)|
|See also||Shinkansen - Railway Museum - Kyoto Railway Museum - SCMaglev and Railway Park - SoftBank Telecom|