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).
It is owned by a consortium of three companies: Abellio, JR East and Mitsui & Co.
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.
In May 2021, the company was criticised after it sent an email to 2,500 employees thanking them for their work during the Covid-19 pandemic and offering a financial bonus;employees who clicked on the link within the email were informed that there was, in fact, no bonus and that the email had been part of a "phishing simulation test”. Manuel Cortes, the general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) union described the company's action as “[...] a cynical and shocking stunt by West Midlands Trains, designed to trick employees who have been on the frontline throughout this terrible pandemic – ensuring essential workers were able to travel. The company must now account for their totally crass and reprehensible behaviour. They could and should have used any other pretext to test their internet security. It’s almost beyond belief that they chose to falsely offer a bonus to workers who have done so much in the fight against this virus.” According to The Guardian , "one worker at West Midlands Trains had died from Covid-19 and many others had fallen ill with the virus".
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. [ citation needed ]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.
WMT's services along the West Coast Main Line rail corridor are operated under the London Northwestern Railway brand. These services include:
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 May 2021, the typical off-peak Monday - Saturday 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) , 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 |
Some services, mainly early morning and late evening services extend to/from Birmingham New Street calling at the stations served by the Northampton - Birmingham New Street train (see below)
|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||350|
|Northampton – Birmingham New Street||1|| Long Buckby, Rugby, Coventry, Canley, Tile Hill, Berkswell, Hampton-in-Arden (Birmingham-bound all day. Northampton-bound trains call in the daytime only), Birmingham International, Marston Green (Birmingham-bound only)|
Some services, mainly early morning and late evening services extend to/from London Euston calling at the stations served by the Northampton - London Euston train (see above)
|London Euston – Crewe||1||Milton Keynes Central, Rugby, Nuneaton, Atherstone, Polesworth (limited service) , 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) , 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
| 230 |
Sunday services are similar however:
Early morning and late night services have amended calling patterns and usually call at most stations.
In the West Midlands region, WMT's train services are operated under the West Midlands Railway brand. These services include:
Services on the short Stourbridge Town branch line are run by the open access operator Pre Metro Operations, who operate services on behalf of WMT under the West Midlands Railway brand name.
As of May 2021, the typical off-peak Monday - Saturday 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, Barnt Green (Limited service), Bromsgrove, Droitwich Spa, Worcester Shrub Hill (Limited service), Worcester Foregate Street, Malvern Link, Great Malvern, Colwall, Ledbury||170 172|
|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||350|
|Birmingham New Street – Rugeley Trent Valley||1||Tame Bridge Parkway, Bescot Stadium (Irregular), 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 (Closed for refurbishment - services resume in May 2022), 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, Duddeston, Aston, Witton, Perry Barr (Closed for refurbishment - services resume in May 2022), Hamstead, Tame Bridge Parkway, Bescot Stadium|
|Snow Hill lines|
|Stratford-upon-Avon – Kidderminster||1||Stratford-upon-Avon Parkway, Wilmcote, Bearley (2 trains Kidderminster-bound, 2 trains Stratford-upon-Avon-bound), Claverdon (2 trains Kidderminster-bound, 2 trains Stratford-upon-Avon-bound), Lapworth (1 train Kidderminster-bound, 5 trains Stratford-upon-Avon-bound), Dorridge, Widney Manor, Solihull, Olton, Acocks Green, Tyseley (Kidderminster-bound only), Small Heath (Kidderminster-bound only), Birmingham Moor Street, Birmingham Snow Hill, Jewellery Quarter, The Hawthorns, Smethwick Galton Bridge, Langley Green, Rowley Regis, Old Hill, Cradley Heath, Lye, Stourbridge Junction, Hagley, Blakedown||172|
|1||Stratford-upon-Avon Parkway, Wilmcote, Wootton Wawen, Henley-in-Arden, Danzey, Wood End, The Lakes, Earlswood, Wythall, Whitlocks End, Shirley, Yardley Wood, Hall Green, Spring Road, Tyseley (Kidderminster-bound only), Small Heath (Kidderminster-bound only), Birmingham Moor Street, Birmingham Snow Hill, Jewellery Quarter, The Hawthorns, Smethwick Galton Bridge, Langley Green, Rowley Regis, Old Hill, Cradley Heath, Lye, Stourbridge Junction, Hagley, Blakedown|
|Whitlocks End – Worcester Foregate Street||1||Shirley, Yardley Wood, Hall Green, Spring Road, Tyseley (Whitlocks End-bound only), Small Heath (Whitlocks End-bound only), Bordesley (1 train per week Worcester-bound only), Birmingham Moor Street, Birmingham Snow Hill, Jewellery Quarter, The Hawthorns, Smethwick Galton Bridge, Rowley Regis, Cradley Heath, Stourbridge Junction, Hagley (Irregular), Blakedown (Irregular), Kidderminster, Hartlebury (Irregular), Droitwich Spa, Worcester Shrub Hill (Irregular)|
|Dorridge – Worcester Foregate Street||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 (Irregular), 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 2 rail-replacement bus services - one departs before the train would normally depart and one after the train would usually depart.
| 172 |
Sunday services are generally hourly on most routes however:
Planned changes included:
WMT inherited a fleet of Class 139, 150, 153, 170, 172, 319, 323 and 350 units from London Midland, but as the newer units enter service, some will be returned to the leasing companies that own them.
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, it placed an order for two PPM60 units with Parry People Movers, through Porterbrook. The service itself was operated for London Midland 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 and 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.
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 their 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.
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.
The Class 319, Class 323 and all Class 350/2 units will be replaced by brand new Class 730 units.
Seventeen of the Class 323 units will be transferred to Northern Trains to work with the existing 323 units already in service with them.
|Family||Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Carriages||No.||Routes operated||Built|
| 08 |
[ citation needed ]
|West Midlands Railway|
|Parry People Mover||139||Railcar||40||64||1||2||2009|
|London Northwestern Railway|
|Siemens Desiro||350/1||110||177||30|| West Coast Main Line services: ||2004–14|
In October 2017, details were announced of planned new rolling stock for West Midlands Trains.
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.
WMT is to replace its fleet of 23 Class 170/5 and 170/6 Turbostar and eight Class 153 units, which operate on West Midlands Railway services, with 26 new Class 196 Civity units.
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.
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.
|Family||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||1985–86||2019||Transferred to Arriva Rail North|
|153||1||8||1987–88||2020||Put into long-term storage|
|Bombardier Turbostar||170/5||2||1||1999–2000||2021||Transferred to East Midlands Railway|
|170/6||3||6||Transferred to East Midlands Railway (end carriages) and CrossCountry (middle carriages)|
Central Trains was a train operating company in the United Kingdom owned by National Express that operated a variety of local and inter-regional trains from 2 March 1997 until 11 November 2007.
The West Coast Main Line (WCML) is one of the most important railway corridors in the United Kingdom, connecting the major cities of London and Glasgow with branches to Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Edinburgh. It is one of the busiest mixed-traffic railway routes in Europe, carrying a mixture of intercity rail, regional rail, commuter rail and rail freight traffic. The core route of the WCML runs from London to Glasgow for 399 miles (642 km) and was opened from 1837 to 1869. With additional lines deviating to Northampton, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh, this totals a route mileage of 700 miles (1,127 km). The Glasgow–Edinburgh via Carstairs line connects the WCML to Edinburgh, however the main London–Edinburgh route is the East Coast Main Line. Several sections of the WCML form part of the suburban railway systems in London, Coventry, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow, with many more smaller commuter stations, as well as providing links to more rural towns.
The British Rail Class 170Turbostar is a British diesel multiple-unit (DMU) passenger train built by Bombardier Transportation at its Derby Litchurch Lane Works. Introduced after privatisation, these trains have operated regional as well as long-distance services, and to a lesser extent suburban services. 139 units were built, but some were later converted to Class 168 and Class 171 units.
The British Rail Class 153Super Sprinters are single-coach railcars converted from two-coach Class 155 diesel multiple units in the early 1990s. The class was intended for service on rural branch lines where passenger numbers do not justify longer trains, or to boost the capacity on trains with high passenger volume.
The Cross-City Line is a commuter rail line in the West Midlands region of England. It runs for 32 miles (51 km) from Redditch, and Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, its two southern termini, to Lichfield, Staffordshire, its northern terminus, via Birmingham New Street, connecting the suburbs of Birmingham in between. Services are operated by West Midlands Trains.
The British Rail Class 222 Meridian is a diesel multiple-unit high-speed passenger train capable of 125 mph (200 km/h). Twenty-seven sets were built by Bombardier Transportation in Bruges, Belgium.
The British Rail Class 321 alternating current (AC) electric multiple units (EMU) were built by British Rail Engineering Limited's York Works in three batches between 1988 and 1991. The design was successful and led to the development of the similar Class 320 and Class 322.
The British Rail Class 350 is a class of electric multiple-unit built by Siemens to its Desiro design between 2004 and 2014. All 87 are now operated by West Midlands Trains, having previously been operated by Central Trains, Silverlink, London Midland, Southern, First TransPennine Express and TransPennine Express.
Walsall railway station is the principal railway station of Walsall, West Midlands, England and situated in the heart of the town. It is operated by West Midlands Trains, with services provided by West Midlands Railway and from 2019, London Northwestern Railway operate a service from Rugeley to London Euston that calls at the station. The main entrance is situated inside the Saddlers Shopping Centre.
Kidsgrove railway station serves the town of Kidsgrove in Staffordshire, England. The station is 7.5 miles (12.07 km) north of Stoke-on-Trent. The station is served by trains on the Crewe to Derby Line which is also a community rail line known as the North Staffordshire line. The station is owned by Network Rail and managed by East Midlands Railway.
Smethwick Galton Bridge is a split-level railway station in Smethwick, West Midlands, England. It is at a point where two railways' lines cross on two levels. It has platforms on both lines, allowing interchange between them. The two low-level platforms serve the Birmingham New Street to Wolverhampton Line, while the two high-level platforms serve the Birmingham Snow Hill to Worcester Line. The high level line passes over the low level line at a right angle on a bridge. West Midlands Railway manage the station and operate the majority of its services, with others provided by Chiltern Railways, London Northwestern Railway and Transport for Wales.
Rugeley Trent Valley is a railway station located on the outskirts of Rugeley in Staffordshire, England. It is one of two stations serving Rugeley, the other being Rugeley Town. It is on the eastern side of the town close to the Rugeley Trent Valley Trading Estate and located close to the River Trent. West Midlands Trains operate the station, and all trains serving it.
Stone railway station serves the town of Stone, Staffordshire, England. The station is located on a junction of the Colwich to Manchester spur of the West Coast Main Line, but has platforms only on the branch from Stafford to Stoke-on-Trent.
CrossCountry is a train operating company in the United Kingdom owned by Arriva UK Trains, operating the Cross Country franchise. It operates intercity and other long-distance passenger trains across Great Britain, but does not serve Greater London. It operates the UK's longest direct rail passenger service, from Aberdeen in the north-east of Scotland to Penzance in western Cornwall, which has a journey time of more than 13 hours.
London Midland was a train operating company in England, owned by Govia, which operated the West Midlands franchise between 2007 and 2017.
British Rail Class 139 is the TOPS classification for PPM60 model lightweight railcars built by Parry People Movers, for use on the British rail network. The class were originally built in 2008 for operation on the Stourbridge Town Branch Line following an extensive trial with a prototype registered as a Class 999 unit.
The Birmingham station group is a station group of three railway stations in Birmingham city centre, England consisting of New Street, Snow Hill and Moor Street. The station group is printed on national railway tickets as BIRMINGHAM STNS and does not include the international station of Birmingham International, which is located some 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) east of the city centre next to Birmingham Airport and National Exhibition Centre.
The British Rail Class 730 Aventra is a type of electric multiple unit being built by Bombardier Transportation for West Midlands Trains. Two separate batches of the fleet will be built; 36 three-car units are intended to be operated on West Midlands Railway's suburban services, primarily the Cross-City Line, and 45 five-car units are intended to be operated on London Northwestern Railway's suburban and long-distance services.
Abellio East Midlands Limited, trading as East Midlands Railway (EMR), is a train operating company in England, owned by Abellio, and is the current operator of the East Midlands franchise.
Avanti West Coast is a train operating company in the United Kingdom owned by FirstGroup (70%) and Trenitalia (30%) that began operating the West Coast Partnership franchise on 8 December 2019. It replaced Virgin Trains, which had operated the InterCity West Coast franchise between 1997 and 2019. The franchise was initially scheduled to run until March 2030, operating High Speed 2 services from 2026. However, in December 2020, it was announced that it will be terminated on 31 March 2026 as part of the abolition of the franchise system.
Media related to West Midlands Trains at Wikimedia Commons
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