London Midland driver shortage cancels 58 more trains

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Cancelled train sign
Image caption,
There have been cancellations on London Midland routes for weeks

London Midland, which has cancelled more than 400 trains in three weeks because of a driver shortage, expects to cancel 58 more on Saturday.

The planned cancellations, listed on the firm's website, affect a range of services, mainly in the West Midlands.

A further 37 trains would terminate early, the company said.

The firm, which runs 1,300 services a day, said 410 trains had been cancelled since 7 October and others disrupted. On Friday 38 trains were cancelled.

A passenger group called the firm's competency into question.

Lines affected include Birmingham-London, Birmingham-Liverpool, Birmingham-Coventry-Northampton, Lichfield-Birmingham-Redditch and Wolverhampton-Birmingham-Walsall-Rugeley.

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

Performance being monitored

A London Midland statement said: "Due to a temporary shortfall of qualified train drivers, we have had to cancel a number of trains over recent weeks. We're sorry if you have been affected.

"Whilst the shortfall itself should be addressed by mid-December, we are working hard to ensure the impact on our passengers in the meantime is kept to an absolute minimum. On most days we hope to run a full service."

The firm said some drivers were working overtime to reduce the impact and "a number of changes to the way we resource our train services" would also help.

London Midland has said it will list its cancellations every day on its website until 11 December.

Rail Minister Norman Baker has warned the firm its performance is being monitored.

'Not acceptable'

The Birmingham Chamber of Commerce has said it is "critical" the issue is resolved for businesses in the area, especially shops during the half-term holiday.

Phil Davis, spokesman for the passenger group Travel Watch West Midlands, said: "The situation seems to be getting worse and it calls into question the competence of London Midland."

Mr Davis, who is also a Labour councillor on Birmingham City Council, said he would be writing in that capacity to the rail regulator about the situation.

"I think we need to really make official complaints, both as passengers and organisations. It's clear that London Midland don't appear to be meeting their obligations," he said.

Mr Davis said he had experienced the train cancellations himself and had other residents complain to him about them.

"It is not acceptable," he said. "It is affecting services across the West Midlands region and people are really having trouble getting into work.

"We need a service we can rely on."

The Sunday Politics in the West Midlands will be looking at the London Midland issue in more detail on BBC One at 11:00 GMT on Sunday.

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