Abellio, JR East and Mitsui have announced that rail operator London Midland’s west coast service will be renamed London Northwestern from 10 December this year, when the next West Midlands rail franchise begins.
The new brand is intended to reflect the increasing economic power and growth of the north-western corridor, while establishing the service as a credible alternative to existing operators.
It has also been reported that the remaining London Midland services operating in and around Birmingham will be branded West Midlands Railway (WMR).
The WMR brand was created by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) in order to better serve its local customer base, and was initially announced last year.
Abellio noted that the creation of the two brands allows for the potential devolution of WMR to the WMCA.
London Northwestern and West Midlands Railway are expected to have a shared management board, while simultaneously being closely aligned to their regional and route-specific service requirements following the restructure.
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The new franchise will remain under the control of the UK Department for Transport (DfT) for future retender.
The changes form part of the nearly £1bn investment that is set to be spent on the network over the next nine years by Abellio, JR East and Mitsui, which includes £680m for new Bombardier and CAF trains and £70m for the development of new depots.
Abellio UK managing director Dominic Booth 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.”