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JR East starts operations in UK -- 'birthplace' of railway

Offering new coaches and Wi-Fi, major Japanese company sets sights abroad

A West Midlands line train is seen at Birmingham Snow Hill station. JR East and its partners have begun operating the line, which links London with Liverpool via Birmingham. (Photo courtesy of East Japan Railway)

TOKYO -- East Japan Railway, one of the world's largest railway companies, has started operating a railway network in the U.K. with two partners -- its first rail operation outside Japan.

Along with Dutch rail operator Abellio and Japanese trading giant Mitsui & Co., JR East is now running the West Midlands rail network, the first time a Japanese railway company has been involved in running an overseas rail service.

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