West Midlands Trains and Porterbrook partner to improve reliability

12 November 2020 | Porterbrook


West Midlands Trains (WMT) and Porterbrook have signed an agreement to reduce costs and improve the reliability of the train operator’s Class 172 fleet.

In a rail industry first, the partnership will see responsibility for the heavy maintenance of the trains move from WMT to Porterbrook.

This new, more collaborative, way of working between the train operator and the rolling stock asset manager, covers the delivery of heavy maintenance, future maintenance optimisation and product enhancements.

The partnership builds on the ongoing improvements to the quality and performance of the fleet which have taken place over the last year during a pilot scheme, whereby Porterbrook provided additional support beyond the standard train leasing arrangements. That scheme was built around maintenance optimisation and remote condition monitoring.

Mary Grant, Porterbrook CEO said: “Porterbrook is committed to supporting and adding value to our train operating customers. By working collaboratively with West Midlands Trains, utilising digital technology and drawing on the asset knowledge of our own engineers we can jointly reduce costs and provide a step improvement in rolling stock reliability that will benefit passengers.”

Data analytics developed during the trial have shown that 70% of engine failures could be predicted in advance of a service affecting failure occurring. Work is underway to improve that figure and take appropriate action to realise the full reliability benefits of digital analytics through close collaboration.

West Midland Trains’ engineering director, Zena Dent, said; “This new way of working, between a train operator and a rolling stock company, is yet another example of how we are driving forward to improve passenger services across our network. While we are investing over £700 million in new trains to expand capacity, we are determined to ensure our existing fleet continues to perform at its very best.”

The partnership will provide significant benefits for passengers in terms of the reliability and the performance level of the fleets. WMT and Porterbrook are working to establish a new performance metric which aligns with this new way of working.

WMT’s Class 172 fleet operates across the West Midlands including the Snow Hill and Shrewsbury lines. The train operator’s main diesel maintenance depot at Tyseley is currently undergoing a major refurbishment as WMT prepares to increase its fleet by 25% over the next two years.

Notes to Editors

Media Contacts

Porterbrook Leasing

Rupert Brennan Brown, Director of Stakeholder Engagement
Rupert@porterbrook.co.uk or +44 (0)7973 950 923

Financial or corporate PR enquiries can also be directed to:


James Isola, Partner
James McFarlane, Partner
jmcfarlane@maitland.co.uk or +44 (0)20 7379 5151

About Porterbrook

  • Porterbrook has been at the heart of the UK rail network for over 25 years and currently owns
    almost a third of the national passenger rail fleet
  • The company currently has almost 4,500 vehicles on lease or on order. Since privatisation, it
    has invested £3bn in 2,500 new passenger and freight vehicles, and is aiming to invest over
    £1bn in UK rail over the coming years
  • Porterbrook works with a significant number of UK companies across the rail supply chain,
    investing £3 million per week and supporting around 7,000 UK jobs
  • The company is also spending tens of millions of pounds in a significant upgrade of its fleets
    to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality over the coming years
  • Porterbrook employs over 150 people of which three quarters are engineers and project
    managers. In addition, over a third of the company’s workforce is female including a number
    of our executive team which compares favourably to the UK rail industry average of 16%
    (source: Women In Rail)
  • In October 2014, the Porterbrook Group of companies was acquired by a consortium of
    investors including Alberta Investment Management Corporation (“AIMCo”), Allianz Capital
    Partners (“ACP”) on behalf of certain insurance companies of the Allianz Group, EDF Invest
    and a consortium of Utilities Trust of Australia (“UTA”), The Infrastructure Fund (“TIF”) and
    Royal Bank of Scotland Group Pension Fund (“RBS”)

Talk to us

Railway Industry Association

Kings Buildings
16 Smith Square
United Kingdom

© Railway Industry Association Great Britain 2022    


RIA is a company limited by guarantee registered in England & Wales Reg. No. 10036044