London Midland Express
This sub-brand is used primarily for semi-fast services on the West Coast Main Line. The main service pattern is as follows:
- Birmingham New Street – Liverpool Lime Street.
Every half-hour, calling at either Smethwick Galton Bridge or Coseley (alternating to give each an hourly express service), Wolverhampton, Penkridge (hourly service), Stafford, Crewe, Winsford (hourly/two hourly service), Hartford, (hourly service, although frequency improves in the morning and evening peak), acton bridge (two hourly service), Runcorn, and Liverpool South Parkway. Journey times vary between approx. 1½ hours and 1¾ hours.
- London Euston - Birmingham New Street.
Every 20 minutes to Birmingham New Street, calling at Watford Junction (hourly), Hemel Hempstead (hourly), Berkhamsted (hourly), Leighton Buzzard, Bletchley, Milton Keynes Central,Wolverton, Northampton, Long Buckby, Rugby, Coventry, Canley, Tile Hill, Berkswell, Birmingham International and Marston Green. Journey times are about an hour longer than Virgin Trains' service, which calls only at the main stations.
- London Euston - Milton Keynes Central.
Every 30 minutes to Milton Keynes calling at Watford Junction, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Tring, Cheddington, Leighton Buzzard, then Bletchley and Milton Keynes Central. Southern Trains operates a similar service on part of this route, with an hourly service between Harrow & Wealdstone and Milton Keynes, from East Croydon via Olympia. At peak times, London Midland has introduced a "Watford Shuttle" service, calling at Harrow & Wealdstone and Bushey.
- London Euston - Tring.
Every 30 minutes to Tring, calling at Harrow & Wealdstone, Bushey, Watford Junction, Kings Langley, Apsley, Hemel Hempstead, and Berkhamsted. Journey times are about an 30 minutes.
- London Euston - Crewe.
Hourly, off-peak, calling at Milton Keynes Central, Rugby, Nuneaton, Polesworth (served only by one northbound Parliamentary train service per day), Atherstone, Tamworth, Lichﬁeld Trent Valley, Rugeley Trent Valley, Stafford, Stone, Stoke-on-Trent, Kidsgrove, and Alsager.
This semi-fast service replaced the old Virgin Trains service from December 2008. This coincided with a reduction in the number of Virgin Trains off-peak services calling at stations in the Trent Valley (and other parts of the WCML).
This move was controversial, as it meant some towns losing their fast services to the capital. However, it also enabled some smaller towns, such as Stone, to have their rail service reinstated or improved. A handful of Virgin Trains services continue to call at Trent Valley stations in peak hours only.
The London Midland Express brand is also used for two branches off the WCML:
- The Marston Vale Line (from Bletchley to Bedford). Hourly, all stations.
- The St Albans Branch Line (from Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey). Every 45 minutes, all stations.
It is a requirement of the franchise that Transport for London's Oyster Cards be valid for trains between London and Watford Junction. In the past, TfL has expressed interest in taking over the St Albans branch, and installing Oyster Card readers on the stations along it; however, this route was included within the London Midland franchise.
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