London Midland train disruption will hit shops, warns chamber

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It is "critical" for businesses that London Midland's rail disruption is resolved quickly, according to The Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.

The firm has blamed disruption since Saturday on a shortage of drivers.

Lines affected on Thursday include Birmingham-Coventry-Northampton, Lichfield-Redditch and Wolverhampton/Birmingham New Street to Walsall/Rugeley.

John Lamb from the chamber said the retail industry was most at risk.

The firm has said the shortfall in qualified train drivers would be addressed by mid-December.

On Tuesday, Rail Minister Norman Baker warned the firm about its performance after three days of cancellations.

Domino effect

Mr Lamb said: "Businesses that are very time sensitive, like shops, will suffer.

"If staff are unable to get into work on time it's going to have an effect and equally a lack of transport options means shoppers might be unable to get to or put off from travelling to the city centre.

"The half term holiday is coming up for many people and these businesses would expect trade to pick up during that time so it needs to improve as soon as possible."

He said it was "extremely disappointing" and the disruption had a domino effect on traffic in busy city centres due to people choosing to drive instead of "risk the train".

There is a full list of affected services on Thursday on the London Midland website.

Some services terminate early and road transport is being provided where necessary, according to London Midland.

Up to 30 services were cancelled on Monday and Saturday with 14 services between Nuneaton and Coventry cancelled on Tuesday.

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