With the start of the new UK rail timetable on 10th December Abellio, JR East and Mitsui have replaced London Midland’s west coast services with the London Northwestern franchise.
London Northwestern is designed to reflect the increasing economic power and growth of the north western corridor – whilst placing the west midlands at its heart.
The new brand presents a contemporary take on the original heritage of the line, representing a credible alternative to existing operators, with a company parentage that includes international railway operators of Holland and Japan.
All remaining London Midland services, operating in and around Birmingham, will be rebranded to West Midlands Railway. This brand was announced last year, after being created by the West Midlands Combined Authority to better serve its local customer base.
London Northwestern and West Midlands Railway will offer two fresh brands, the business units will have a shared management board, while being closely aligned to their regional and route specific service requirements.
The introduction of two new, separate, railway brands is to enable potential devolution of the west midlands routes to the West Midlands Combined Authority. London Northwestern would remain under the remit of the Department for Transport for future retender.
The current changes are a part of the near £1bn of investment into the network over the next nine years by Abellio, JR East and Mitsui. This includes £680m on new trains, produced by Bombardier and CAF and £70m on new depots.
Dominic Booth, Managing Director of Abellio UK said:
“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.
“This is all part of the £1bn of improvements we are delivering to the network over the coming years.”