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Lichfield’s MP says he is backing an ultimatum given to a train operator to improve services or face calls to be stripped of the franchise.
West Midlands Trains, which operates as London Northwestern Railway and West Midlands Railway, has come under increasing pressure over delays and disruption to services.
The issue has seen West Midlands Police Commissioner warn the issue is becoming a “danger to public safety”, while West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has said he will request the franchise be stripped if services don’t improve before the end of the month.
Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant has now supported that call and said enough is enough.
“Lichfield is not in the Combined Authority, but I shall act in support of Andy Street if he seeks to remove the franchise from West Midlands Trains.
“Many of my constituents commute on the cross city line across to Birmingham and elsewhere, while others commute down to London.
“An unreliable service due to staff shortages and other factors is making their life a misery.
“Too many of my constituents are missing work appointments and I know of at least one case where a Lichfield resident has found it difficult to get to hospital in Birmingham in time for surgery.”Michael Fabricant MP
But while the Conservative MP says he is aware of external factors impacting on train punctuality, he insisted too many problems lie at the operator’s doorstep.
“Not every issue on the trains is due to the train company.
“I am well aware that some delays have been caused by signalling problems, vandalism, train breakdowns, and trespass on the railway.
“I also know of the huge investment West Midlands Trains are making in new rolling stock and at stations.
“But many of the delays and cancellations are of West Midlands Trains own making. This has to stop.
“Their new managing director, Julian Edwards, must quickly get a grip.”Michael Fabricant MP
The train operator has already confirmed it will not implement a fare rise due to the delays and disruption experienced by passengers.
And despite the confirmation of a new man at the helm of the West Midlands Trains, Mr Street said no more excuses can be made.
“A change in management does not change my ultimatum.
“Whether it is Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, Julian Edwards, or both in charge, if a reliable service is not restored by midnight on 31st January then my request to remove the franchise from West Midlands Trains will be sent to the Department for Transport.”West Midlands Mayor Andy Street