Latest Rail News

27.10.17

London Midland’s West Coast services to be renamed London Northwestern

The group behind the new West Midlands franchise have today announced that the west coast service will be called London Northwestern.

Abellio, JR East and Mitsui have chosen the name as a tribute to the London and North Western Railway – formerly the largest in Britain and seen as the ancestor of today’s West Coast Main Line.

Starting on 10 December, the new franchise will replace London Midland’s services in the region following the appointment of a new operator in August.

Although the west coast will be run by the newly created Northwestern, other services, operating around Birmingham, will fall under the remit of West Midlands Railway. This second brand was started by the West Midlands Combined Authority and the two will remain separate to enable the possibility of devolution between the areas.

Under this potential system, the new franchise would remain under the control of the DfT but West Midlands CA would take control of the other brand. Both new brands will have a shared management board.

West Midlands train
Livery for the West Midlands Railway brand; Above: Design of London Northwestern livery

The changes are part of nearly £1bn of investment into the network over the next nine years, including £680m announced earlier this month for Bombardier and CAF to develop 100 new trains.

“We are delighted to bring the London Northwestern brand to a whole new generation of passengers, and it seems apt during a time of record investment into the railways,” commented Dominic Booth, Abellio UK’s managing director.

This announcement is the culmination of a process which began in August last year with the release of the West Midlands invitation to tender (ITT).

Initially, there were three companies in contention to operate the franchise but when the Hong Kong-based MTR pulled out the process was left between previous operator London Midland, owned by Govia, and the new joint venture.

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Comments

J, Leicester   27/10/2017 at 11:49

That West Midlands Railway livery looks worse every time I see it. Absolutely atrocious, possibly the worst I've ever seen (advertising vinyls aside, which don't really count). I heard somebody bandy the term "Jaundiced Tellytubby" around at one point, and it's probably the most fitting description one could ask for. I like that companies are being more creative in their use of yellow panels now the rules have been relaxed though. It actually works quite well for the LNWR unit at the top - probably because the colours actually match and it has a throwback feel to the "half panel" days on BR's southern region. But really, whichever fools came up with that WMR design ought to be fired and never allowed near railway vehicles again!

Jak Jaye   27/10/2017 at 12:58

What an insult to a once great Railway company name and will make no difference to the level of service someone should tell these numpties it takes more than yet another rancid livery to run a railway!

Nonsuchmike   27/10/2017 at 13:17

Simple notes on how to run a better customer orientated service: Stop running two car services; start running minimum four car services, preferably five, six of eight car services. Double the lines you once reduced to single tracks. Increase the frequency of all trains by 100% ie if the service is hourly or two hourly, increase to half hourly and hourly. Aim for at least half hourly services to more customer led destinations, especially during rush hours. Implement a sustainable Sunday service by recruiting and training more drivers. Improve off peak and high peak time ticket deals. Liaise with bus companies for interconnectivity @ rural and semi rural stations as well as urban sites; park and ride is good but not always the salvation it is made out to be cf Spain.

Mark Hare   27/10/2017 at 15:37

Your 'simple notes' @Nonsuchmike are not quite as simple as you seem to believe. I don't believe you'll find any two-car trains running on the West Coast 'London Northwestern' services, and you'll be aware that the WCML has had over £9bn of upgrades in recent years and is now running at or near capacity. Of course local services in the WM area could be improved but when you say 'Double the lines you once reduced to single tracks', that work would be down to NR, not the TOC running trains. And doubling the length and frequency of trains would mean leasing many more trains and/or making unit diagrams much more productive as well as employing many more drivers, even if you assume that the infrastructure could accommodate the increased frequency. So if you assume that the new franchise operator has unlimited supply of funds in order to double the length and frequency of trains, recast the timetable, employ more drivers and NR is prepared to fund resignalling and infrastructure projects then yes, perfectly simple.

Andrew Gwilt   27/10/2017 at 20:40

I quite like the new liveries. But the downside is that most people who use London Midland which the new franchise will take over in December will have to get used to the new liveries on the current rolling stocks including Class 350’s, Class 172’s, Class 170’s and Class 323’s. Also the classification of the new trains that the new West Midlands franchise have ordered will soon be announced in which it will be built in 2020-21. Bombardier Aventra EMU Class 38x, Class 39x or Class 7xx CAF Civity DMU Class 19x

GW   28/10/2017 at 16:17

I have yet to come across anybody that likes the proposed West Midlands livery. These variations just make it look worse. Maybe it's because the current livery is actually quite good?

GWR Fan   28/10/2017 at 21:20

Liveries are not bad, but I think they could have done better. For instance, London Northwestern looks too much like a Livery Southern uses. Maybe for LNW, try a different design. West Midlands Railway's livery is not bad. I don't see anything wrong with it. But I think, throw in more yellow on the front of the train on both Liveries and you might make them better.

Andrew JG   29/10/2017 at 00:09

I’m slightly confused with the new liveries that are to be applied once the new franchise takes over in December. But in fairness. I do like the new liveries that will be applied onto the current rolling stocks. Before new rolling stocks will soon be delivered and to operate on suburban services across the Birmingham area and West Midlands area.

Peter Jarvis   29/10/2017 at 16:41

Give me L&Y purple-brown with gold leaf....handsome. Yes, there is still a little to be seen in service. New carriages too, admittedly First Class.

Jake (Selly Oak)   30/10/2017 at 14:38

Good grief; Purple, Grey & Orange? Who on earth signed this off. What do these colours have in common with Birmingham or the West Midlands?! Blue should be used instead! It features on the historical Mercian flag, the Birmingham Coat of Arms and the flags of Shropshire & Worcestershire, four of the regions football teams, it has real regional connections, as well as looking smart and professional. I'm going to cry if my 323 to work pulls in to the station looking like this.

Andrew   12/11/2017 at 17:22

@Mike Hare. So are you saying that TOC will not improve the railways because NR need to change the infrasctucture? I am sure that I read somewhere else that NR are reluctant to upgrade infrastucture unless TOCs show the demand. Who will break the deadlock? The we can follow @nonsuckmike's "simple plan" if it is economically viable.

Colin   15/11/2017 at 19:46

Given the extent of pride (some might say parochialism) in each individual Black Country town and in Brumigem, I'm guessing the livery were chosen to avoid any one town cclaiming it as theirs or complaining it favours another!

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