Abellio bags West Midlands and promises 400 new vehicles

By Ben Jones

DUTCH company Abellio joined the Premier League of British railway operators in August when it was announced as the winner of the new West Midlands franchise.

Whether the single-car units have a future with the new franchisee is unclear. The usual single-carriage consist of LM’s Nuneaton to Coventry shuttle was strengthened to two cars on August 5 to serve Coventry Arena, where Coventry City FC’s first game of the 2017/18 season was taking place. Class 153 DMUs Nos. 153371 and 153375 depart from Nuneaton with the 11.14 service to Coventry. GRAHAM NUTTALL

It now holds a 70.1% stake in the West Midlands Trains (WMT) joint venture, with Japan’s
JR East and Mitsui taking the remainder – a first passenger contract for JR East outside its home country.

WMT replaces Govia, itself a joint venture between Go-Ahead and SNCF subsidiary Keolis, which has operated under the London Midland brand since 2007.

Like the Greater Anglia and ScotRail contracts previously won by Abellio, the deal includes a large order for new trains, including 100 new ‘metro-style’, high-capacity EMU vehicles for the Birmingham Cross-City line, 80 DMU cars for the Snow Hill line, and 225 new EMU vehicles for West Midlands to Euston services by 2021.

Read more in the September issue of The RM – on sale now!

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