Abellio, JR East and Mitsui have today announced that when its West Midlands Trains franchise takes over London Midland service in December it will introduce a London Northwestern brand. The new franchise starts on 10th December.
The company says that the 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,” it says, “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”.
The new London Northwestern brand will be used on the main WCML services. The remaining London Midland services, operating in and around Birmingham, will be rebranded as West Midlands Railway. The West Midlands Railway brand name was announced last year, after being created by the West Midlands Combined Authority to better serve its local customer base.
The introduction of two new, separate, railway brands is seen as an enabler for the potential devolution of the west midlands routes to the West Midlands Combined Authority.
The London Northwestern operation would remain under the remit of the Department for Transport as far of future refranchising is concerned.
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.”
Steven Knight is a Transport Specialist who has over 40 years experience in the bus and rail industries as well as in specialist transport journalism. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.