14 december 2019

a lack of service

To put it kindly, the current train service offered by West Midlands Railway on the Snow Hill lines is a disgrace.  While the major problems suffered by passengers on the Chase Line can be put down to an over-ambitious timetable change in May that saw trains extended all the way to London Euston with the inherent delays at the south of the line leading to frequent cancellations between Birmingham New Street and Rugeley Trent Valley, the same excuse cannot be used for Snow Hill line services where the changes merely consisted of a few extra rush hour services and improved evening services.

So, why have we seen so many cancellations on our line over the past couple of months.  The fact is the situation has not been remotely as bad as it is now since the days of Central Trains.  We are seeing an average of nearly 12 services a day being cancelled, with some days seeing as many as 40 cancelled services.  

Of over 600 cancellations since 23 October, nearly half are officially due to “Train Crew issues”.  However, this figure is lower than it should be as this example will demonstrate.  

The departure board to the left shows that the 1033 service to Kidderminster has been cancelled.  This service was due to arrive at Kidderminster at 1110 and return as the 1125 service to Whitlocks End.  On some occasions, this return service is correctly shown as cancelled because of “Train Crew Issues”.  However, on many occasions, the return service is shown as cancelled because of “the late arrival of the inbound service”.  Of course it was late - it didn’t even run!.  

The cancellations have led to huge gaps in service, especially south of Stourbridge Junction where gaps of over 2 hours between services at Worcester and 3 hours between services at Hartlebury have been experienced.  In addition, there have been days when the rush hour services from Birmingham have been decimated because of the cancellations.

SLUG has been accumulating data on the cancellations and intend to write to the Metro Mayor and every MP along the line.  We are also trying to arrange meetings with West Midlands Railway and the West Midlands Rail Executive as soon as possible to express our disgust at the current situation and demand that immediate action is undertaken to resolve this issue.

The data that we have accumulated may be browsed by clicking on one of the buttons below.

cancellations - statistics cancellations - details