Rail bosses say they are “disappointed” after talks failed to prevent planned strikes which are set to hit services in and out of Lichfield.
Members of the RMT Union will begin the first of seven planned Saturdays of industrial action this weekend.
The union has accused West Midlands Trains, which operates West Midlands Railway on the cross city line and London Northwestern Railway on the West Coast Main Line, of attempting to “bulldoze through driver only operation and rip apart the safety critical role of the guard”.
But a spokesperson for West Midlands Trains said the industrial action will not been beneficial for any parties.
“We are very disappointed that Saturday’s action by the RMT is going ahead,” they said.
“A strike benefits nobody and will inconvenience businesses and thousands of local rail users.
“There is no need for this action, we have never proposed driver only operation. We are committed to keeping a safety-critical conductor on every passenger train.”
The company said attempts to reach a compromise had been unsuccessful.
“In recent days, we proposed a solution which meets the latest demands from RMT, in respect of our new trains when they are delivered,” they said.
“The solution means conductors retain responsibility for safe train despatch from stations.
“We remain determined to find a way of resolving this dispute without further disruption and inconvenience for our passengers.
“We are running a reduced service on Saturday using managers who have guard competency.
“Passengers are advised to check their journey carefully before leaving home.”
“Inevitable and serious disruption”
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said any disruption caused this weekend lay firmly at the feet of bosses from West Midlands Trains.
“Strike action on West Midlands Trains goes ahead as planned from this Saturday in the face of the company’s refusal to pull back from their threat to bulldoze through driver only operation and their attack on the safety critical role of the guard,” he said.
“The inevitable and serious disruption to services will be wholly down to the company and their refusal to agree to the safest possible means of operation.
“We will not allow the drive for profit to override the core issue of safe and accessible services for all on West Midlands Trains and we stand firm on that very basic principle.
“We will never compromise on the issues of passenger safety and accessibility.
“The union remains available for talks.”