West Midlands Trains - A
West Midlands Trains - A
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 trading names: within the West Midlands region as West Midlands Railway (WMR) and outside the region as London Northwestern Railway (LNR).
West Midlands Trains was created as a consortium of three companies, Abellio, JR East, and Mitsui & Co, which joined to bid for the West Midlands franchise, they were amongst the three bids to be shortlisted in April 2016, and were awarded the franchise during August 2017. In addition to the DfT, it is also accountable to the West Midlands Rail Executive for services that operate wholly within the West Midlands region. On 10 December 2017, West Midlands Trains took over operations from the prior operator, London Midland. As per the original terms of the franchise, West Midlands Trains is expected to continue to operate until March 2026.
During October 2017, West Midlands Trains revealed details for its planned procurement of new rolling stock, 26 CAF Civity diesel multiple units (80 carriages) and 81 electric multiple units based on Bombardier Transportation's Aventra platform (333 carriages) have been ordered and will replace various classes inherited from prior operators.
It also became the launch customer for the Class 230 diesel electric multiple unit that are upcycled London Underground D78 Stock, these entered service in April 2019. During 2020, service levels were deliberately reduced as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. West Midlands Trains is amongst those train operators that are impacted by the 2022–2023 United Kingdom railway strikes, being only capable of operating a minimal timetable on days of the strikes due to the number of staff involved.
West Midlands Trains History
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 & Co (15%). During July 2016, MTR Corporation abruptly opted to withdraw itself from the bidding process.
In August 2016, a formal invitation to tender for the franchise was issued to the two remaining bidders. During August 2017, the West Midlands Trains consortium was awarded the franchise, it took over operations from the prior operator, 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, for services that operate wholly within the West Midlands region, West Midlands Trains is also accountable to the West Midlands Rail Executive, a group of 16 local authorities.
However, until the franchise is re-let, the DfT must still approve any changes that the West Midlands Rail Executive may wish to make.
By mid-2020, West Midlands Trains had considerably curtailed its services in response to the significant decline of passenger travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic. From 15 June 2020, both passengers and staff on public transport in England, including West Midlands Trains services, were required to wear face coverings while travelling, and anyone failing to do so were liable to be refused travel or fined.
In May 2021, the company was criticised after it sent an email to 2,500 employees apparently thanking them for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic and offering a financial bonus, however, employees who clicked on the link within the email were informed that there was, in fact, no bonus and that the email had been a "phishing simulation test”.
In September 2021, following emergency measures to deal with the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the DfT awarded WMT a direct contract until 20 September 2026, replacing its existing franchise agreement.
West Midlands Trains is one of several train operators impacted by the 2022–2023 United Kingdom railway strikes, which are the first national rail strikes in the UK for three decades. Its workers are amongst those who are participating in industrial action due to a dispute over pay and working conditions. West Midlands Trains has only been capable of operating a very minimal timetable on any of the planned dates for the strikes due to the number of staff involved.
Abellio's stake in West Midlands Trains was included in the sale of its United Kingdom business to Transport UK Group in February 2023.
West Midlands Trains Branding
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.
West Midlands Trains Overview
West Midlands Trains Franchise(s): West Midlands
10 December 2017 – 20 September 2026
West Midlands Trains Main Region(s): West Midlands
West Midlands Trains Other Region(s): North West
West Midlands Railway
2 Class 139 Parry People Mover sets
39 Class 172 Turbostar sets
26 Class 196 Civity sets
26 Class 323 electric multiple units
London Northwestern Railway
7 Class 319 electric multiple units
87 Class 350 Desiro electric multiple units
West Midlands Trains Stations Called At: 178
West Midlands Trains Stations Operated: 146
West Midlands Trains Parent Company: Transport UK Group (70%)
JR East (15%)
Mitsui & Co (15%)
West Midlands Trains Reporting Mark: LM
West Midlands Trains Predecessor: London Midland
West Midlands Trains Technical Length: 867.4 km (539.0 mi)