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London Midland launches new Motion entertainment service on trains

London Midland has today launched a service that provides customers with an entertainment package featuring films, TV programmes, games and magazines, plus wi-fi on its trains

Using the service, called Motion, customers can for the first-time access content on their web browser without the need to download an app before taking the train.

The entertainment will also operate independently of the wi-fi service, freeing up bandwidth for passengers using the internet connection the most. According to the operator, this is because a state-of-the-art router is connected to three different networks providing the fastest free connection currently available on UK railways.

The wi-fi and entertainment packages have already been installed on over half of London Midland’s long distance fleet and Birmingham’s Cross City Line. The operator hopes that by October, it will be available on 70% of journeys run by London Midland.

Managing director of the operator Patrick Verwer said: “Twelve months ago we pledged to install wi-fi on all of our long-distance trains but we have been able to do much more. Our innovative approach to technology means we have been able to include the industry-leading entertainment package and cover key local routes too.”

Verwer added that the operator’s aim was to create simply better journeys for all our customers, as he explained: “Free entertainment and wi-fi will not only improve the customer experience – it will change the way people think about travelling on our train.

“We have made the package as user-friendly as possible and this is the first time that Hollywood studios have given the green light for on-board movies and TV shows to be streamed directly to a browser, rather than through a third-party app.”

The service will be available from tomorrow, Tuesday 25 April, on the following London Midland routes:

  • London Euston – Northampton – Coventry- Birmingham New St
  • London Euston – Milton Keynes - Stoke on Trent - Crewe
  • Liverpool Lime Street – Crewe – Stafford – Wolverhampton - Birmingham New Street
  • Redditch – Birmingham New Street – Lichfield Trent Valley
  • Wolverhampton- Birmingham New Street- Walsall

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Andrew Gwilt   24/04/2017 at 19:20

Why not allow this motion entertainment service to be used on other train operators including-Great Western Railway, Virgin Trains West Coast, Virgin Trains East Coast, Transpennine Express, Greater Anglia, Northern, Scotrail, Arriva Trains Wales and Crosscountry on longer train journeys for anyone to enjoy films and movies and even TV shows whilst traveling long distances on any train service.

Jimbo   24/04/2017 at 19:45

@Andrew Gwilt - it sounds like it is reliant on equipment on the trains, so other operators would have to install the same equipment in their trains. Also, London Midland will only have licensed the material to use on their trains - Studios and TV companies are very protective of their licenses and would charge a lot more for a wide rangine license. It will be interesting the see the selection of material available, but if they are offering this service for free (at least at the moment), it doesn't sound like it will be particularly comprehensive. Licensing the latest blockbuster movie is expensive, so it seems unlikely they would go that far for a free service.

Huguenot   24/04/2017 at 21:42

I just hope that the screens do not have their own speakers and that the only way to get sound will be via earphones. I can already see adjacent passengers' enjoyment of the journey being spoilt by flickering screens.

Andrew Gwilt   25/04/2017 at 02:15

Suppose you are right @Jimbo. So it's only to be used on London Midland trains.

Jimbo   25/04/2017 at 08:26

@Hugenot - I may be wrong, but I read this as being a service available over the train wi-fi for you to access on your own devices, so no screens on the train.

Mark Hare   25/04/2017 at 11:59

Surprising they've invested in this at this late stage - they hope that by October it will be available on 70% of journeys run by LM? Just in time for the franchise to expire then.

John Grant   25/04/2017 at 12:06

I'm sure it's as Jimbo suggests -- why go to the expense of installing screens etc when most of the passengers who might want to use the service will have their own. The term "WiFi" seems to be evolving to mean wireless access to the Internet other than by subscribing to a mobile operator's data package, rather than specifically refering to IEEE 802.11.

SWB   25/04/2017 at 19:37

There has been a movement in the airline business to allow people to use their own devices to access airline-provided internet and/or entertainment. The vast majority of us have them after all. This means the seat-back screens and associated equipment that takes up so much room under seats aren't required; only a couple of powerful routers in the equipment bay are necessary. Of course airlines are much more conscious of weight than TOCs, and room is more readily available on trains. Still, lighter-weight trains use less energy to move and not using installed screens would save TOCs a lot of money, especially for their maintenance.

ELC   25/04/2017 at 20:17

@Andrew - you're right. Nothing stopping this going onto other train companies. The wifi provider, Icomera, have their hardware on about 70% of UK trains. All they need to do is get the software upgrade and license the content.

Andrew Gwilt   25/04/2017 at 23:42

I think that VT East Coast, VT West Coast, GWR, ATW, Crosscountry and Scotrail could allow to use the motion entertainment service for longer distance services for passengers. It might happen very soon or even next year or so.

David   26/04/2017 at 03:43

How do you know it will happen next year? Do you work for the train companies in question? Besides, I understand that Virgin Trains East Coast (to give one example) provides an app that allows customers to stream movies and related content to their smart devices.

Andrew Gwilt   26/04/2017 at 07:52

@ELC. Thanks for agreeing with me. But I might be wrong. @David. No I don't work for any train company David. I would assume it could be introduced on some train operators that could use the motion entertainment service for passengers to use whilst on long distance service.

Simon D   26/04/2017 at 10:12

Here at TPE, we are in the process of intalling Icomera WiFi and media servers on our existing fleet, and our new fleets will also have it. See for further details.

Simon D   27/04/2017 at 18:52

Free Wi-Fi on Anglo-Scottish services and at all stations by summer 2017 Free Wi-Fi on all trains by July 2018 with free TV programmes and films on demand

Web Dude   28/04/2017 at 06:41

@John Grant WiFi for most people is synonymous with using the internet because many tablets, and now some of the smaller, thinner, netbooks / laptops have no ethernet port, so Wi-Fi is their only means of access. A minority might access a NAS box to stream audio or video locally and never access the net. I would expect most people using their mobile network's internet access to refer to 3G, 4G (and 5G when available) and whilst it is provided via "wireless", it is hardly likely to be confused with the 802.11 usage, which clearly describes "local" coverage of a few metres / tens of metres (and a maximum of approx 1500m) in normal operation, where mobile network cell coverage may extend to about 30km

Lydia   28/04/2017 at 12:54

This technology is very similar to Juxta by Trolex | Aporta. The Juxta infotainment system does not rely on content delivery through the public Wi-Fi network so your passengers can enjoy an uninterrupted streaming of entertainment, information and news from the unique offine delivery platform straight to their own device. It’s infotainment that actually works and all delivered from just a single, modern portable box. Trolex | Aporta offer much more including a luggage alert service which informs passengers if their luggage is removed from the rack.

David   27/05/2017 at 11:34

It doesn't actually work, though, which is strange. You'd think they'd have these on a local media server (as the airplanes do!). It appears instead they load them over cell internet. They haven't worked for me between London and Birmingham (which seems perhaps the most important place for it to work?), and I can't imagine it'll ever work with the current setup.

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