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Lichfield MP calls for London Midland contracts to be cancelled

Londond Midland train. Pic: Ben Coulson

Londond Midland train. Pic: Ben Coulson

MP Michael Fabricant has called for London Midland to be stripped of their Lichfield to London contract.

Mr Fabricant made his public criticism of the company after they cancelled all services across the country today (Sunday) because of staff shortages.

The cancellations hit Mr Fabricant’s constituents hard with services between Lichfield Trent Valley and London among those affected as well as cross-city line services in and out of the city.

The Lichfield MP said:

“This failure of their service is unacceptable and breaches all the assurances and promises given to me and the Department of Transport on the future of their Sunday train timetable. Their contract should be withdrawn and be given to an alternative company.

“When I last met Steve Banaghan, Managing Director of London-Midland, back in March, he outlined the difficulties they are encountering. However, he offered hope as to the future reliability of their service. In particular, he said that the introduction of the new timetable on May 17 would resolve many of their problems and herald a consistent Sunday service.

“This has not come about. Indeed, I now understand that Steve Banaghan has moved on. And while I wish his successor – Mike Hodson – well, the present situation cannot be allowed to continue any longer. It is causing real distress to students, businessmen, and tourists needing to travel on Sundays. It follows on from a stream of cancellations and delays over the past year.”

It was because of these delays that Mr Fabricant called on Virgin Trains to re-introduce a Sunday service between Lichfield and the capital.

Mr Fabricant added:

“I am delighted that the Virgin service will almost certainly be incorporated in their December timetable. But one reliable train is not enough. I am now calling on Lord Adonis – Secretary of State for Transport – to withdraw the contract from London-Midland and offer it to a company such as Virgin Trains or some other company who have a proven track record of running a reliable Sunday train service.

“After all the disruption, sacrifice and noise residents were forced to endure caused by the four-tracking of the main line by Lichfield, the present debacle cannot be allowed to drift on any longer.”

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  1. BrownhillsBob

    7th September, 2009 at 12:58 am

    Only one who doesn’t pay his own train fares could possibly think that Virgin should operate any more services than it currently does. Virgin provide an appalling service at high prices. One of the reasons that the Chiltern and WSMR services are so popular is that they are more reliable and priced realistically than the Branson hypemobile.

    What we need is for an agreement to be forced on London Midland for it’s Sunday service. Removing overtime payments for Sunday working was just asking for this to happen.

  2. pezholio

    7th September, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Couldn’t agree more. Virgin’s prices are a complete and utter joke. No wonder people spurn public transport for the car when a return journey to London can cost over £100!

  3. Classcrisis

    7th September, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Brownhills Bob has hit the nail squarely on the head. The issue here is one of fair pay and conditions and workers being attacked by management and workers defending those positions.

    That Michael Fabricant attacked the unions as being “intransigent” for mounting this defence of their conditions is instructive. Is he really saying London Midland should lose the contract due to their inability to pressure their workforce into accepting a deterioration in those conditions?

  4. Simple Simon

    16th September, 2009 at 8:20 am

    If there is customer driven demand for the Sunday service, why can’t London Midlands just sort it out? It’s a simple equation surely, to get the resources i.e. staff & equipment deployed to meet the customer need? The company should look at their HR policies and practices to encourage a culture of ensuring they offer an attactive deal to the staff to undertake the extra duties. Who wants to work over time on a Sunday for the same pay? The staff should be offered incentives for working unsociable hours and if this means increasing Sunday fares, then so be it. As for Virgin Trains, all previous comments are spot on.