London Midland under fire for string of train cancellations

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The company that runs the trains that pass through Tring, Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead has come under fire for a string cancellations to its services.

Reports in the national media said that a shortage of drivers hit 37 of London Midland’s train journeys yesterday (Thursday).

They were cancelled, delayed or finished early on the line between London Euston and Birmingham.

Speaking yesterday, leader of the House of Commons Andrew Lansley said: “London Midland has been experiencing a high level of cancellations for about two months now.

“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.”

He was responding to a question by Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier about the ongoing ‘poor performance’ of the operator.

Mr Garnier said: “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?”

Rail Minister Norman Baker has been in talks with London Midland’s managing director Patrick Verwer.

Mr Baker said: “As with other franchises, London Midland is required to meet stringent benchmarks relating to their performance and I will be monitoring this extremely closely to ensure that normal services are resumed as a matter of absolute priority.”

London Midland has not yet issued a comment on the situation.

UPDATE:

Today (Monday), London Midland commercial director Richard Brooks has said that changes to services are listed on www.londonmidland.com, on Twitter @londonmidland and via the National Rail Enquiry Service on 08457 484 950.

He said: “We apologise to all those passengers affected and thank them for their continued patience.

“Our driver shortage has been caused by a vacancy gap. We are working hard to resolve this and are confident that we will be able to do so.”