Snow baby: the first West Midlands Rail liveried Class 172 at Birmingham Moor Street on 11 December 2017, the day of the official franchise launch. The WMR livery will have black ends rather than yellow from the next set on – there was not time to implement fully the planned livery before launch day. Tony Miles

ABELLIO, JR East and Mitsui launched the new West Midlands franchise on 11 December, the day after it officially began. Taking over Govia’s London Midland operation, the service will be operated by one company (West Midlands Trains) but will incorporate two brands: West Midlands Railway (WMR) for services around Birmingham, and London Northwestern Railway (LNR) for West Coast main line services. Abellio holds the majority 70.1% stake in the venture, with the other partners holding equal shares of the remaining stake.

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