Abellio began operating West Midlands Trains (WMT) on 10th December 2017 for a period of 8 years and 3 months as part of a 70:15:15 venture with Mitsui and Japan Railways East. The franchise is let by Department for Transport, with oversight and reporting to the regional client, Transport for West Midlands. West Midlands Trains operates services from London Euston via Birmingham to Liverpool and across the West Midlands.
WMT is focused on delivering public transport improvements in the region, introducing over 400 new train vehicles from 2020 to 2021 which will provide space for an extra 85,000 passengers on rush hour services in Birmingham and London.
The first major timetable change was delivered in May 2019. Whilst this allowed WMT to carry an extra 150,000 passengers per week, the new timetable also brought additional operational complexity due to high usage of the critical parts in the West Midlands network and high cancellation of trains making service recovery more difficult during times of disruption. In addition to a series of signalling and track failures and industrial action over the second half of 2019, the southern end of the route has also been impacted by the closure of two platforms at Euston due to construction works on HS2. Customer satisfaction has been impacted by this drop in performance and improvement plans have been put in place to improve reliability and improve our customers’ experience and additional staff will be recruited and trained. The weak operational performance and strike actions also impacted on the financial results although these remained solid in 2019.
The December 2019 timetable change has brought additional vehicles onto the network and changes have been made to remove complexity from the timetable. We will deliver further improvements and the first new CAF train introductions in May and December 2020. Abellio has also encouraged Network Rail to review the reliability of the West Coast Mainline where infrastructure failures have been impacting significantly on all rail operating companies on this line. The measures we take to improve the performance and punctuality will take time to fully implement and will also require a financial investment by WMT in 2020. WMT have agreed an performance improvement plan with the DfT. Since the December timetable change WMT have realised a significant reduction in cancellations and punctuality on the region’s main lines has gone up from an average of 78% to more than 88% in January.
West Midlands (in € million)
EBIT before IFRS 16 effect
IFRS 16 effect
Intercompany financial result*
Other financial results
Profit before tax
Net profit attributable to Abellio
Net profit before IFRS 16 impact attributable to NS
Equity attributable to NS
PCS guarantees provided by NS
Other guarantees provided by NS
Capital at Risk, West Midlands
PCS guarantees called on (NS portion)
Other guarantees called on (NS portion)
- * *Intercompany financial result consists of interest on shareholder loans and guarantee fees