Tuesday 6 November 2012

London Midland Driver Shortage

London Midland has been warned it will face ‘punitive action’ from the Department for Transport if it fails to fix a driver shortage chaos.
The troubled operator has cancelled more than 500 trains in the last three weeks. It blames what it calls “a temporary shortfall of qualified train drivers”, and claims it is currently training new drivers who will begin work in December.

But Cabinet Minister Andrew Lansley told the House of Commons that the Government was ready to take action.
Rail Minister Norman Baker has already spoken to London Midland’s managing director to demand an explanation for the cancellations which have affected thousands of commuters.
The lack of progress restoring reliable services was raised in the House of Commons by MP Mark Garnier (Con Wyre Forest), who asked: “There have been a number of questions asked about the poor performance of London Midland trains. Despite that, their performance continues to be absolutely atrocious.
“Given London Midland’s habitual under-performance, will the Transport Secretary make a statement on how that pitiful situation can be resolved?”
Mr Lansley, leader of the Commons, said: “London Midland is not yet technically in breach of its obligations, but if improvements are not seen in very short order, the Department for Transport will need to consider taking action against the train operator.”
Government Minister Earl Attlee echoed the comments in the House of Lords, telling peers: “If the situation continues and cancellations increase, the department has a range of actions available.”
The firm could face “severe penalties” if it was found to have broken the terms of its franchise, he said.

Focus Comment 
I travelled around the West Midlands area last week and didn't experience any problems caused by cancellations. Hopefully the situation will soon be resolved and things will return to normal.  DG
 172 222 Awaits an on time departure at Stourbridge Junction on Monday 29th October 2012
 323 202 at Wolverhampton. This train departed on time.
 A London Midland train disappears into Snow Hill tunnel. It seems ridiculous that that Snow Hill Station was closed many years ago on the grounds that it wasn't required. The new station now bustles with trains, trams and passengers and is once again an integral part of Birmingham's rail system.