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West Midlands Railway changes aim to simplify timetable

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image captionA series of strikes starting on 16 November is expected to disrupt services on Saturdays in the run-up to Christmas

A new train timetable set to be introduced next month should reduce delays and cancellations, a train operator has said.

Figures released by Network Rail in October showed one in five trains operated by West Midlands Railway were failing to arrive on time.

The operator said a new timetable introduced in May had proved too complicated and was largely to blame.

It said a simplified timetable would be introduced on 15 December.

"While the timetable we introduced in May 2019 brought a lot of benefits and allowed us to carry 150,000 extra passengers, it also brought in a layer of complexity which has meant the knock-on effects of disruption have been greater," Francis Thomas, from parent company West Midlands Trains, said.

The figures released by Network Rail last month showed the worst performance since West Midlands Railway took over the franchise nearly two years ago.

Over the preceding month, almost 10% of trains were cancelled.

The firm said from 15 December fewer trains would split at Birmingham New Street and an hourly shuttle service would operate between there and Birmingham International on weekdays.

It said passengers in Rugeley would also see improved links to Birmingham, with one train per hour originating in the region instead of London.

Previously it said those services had often been cancelled at Hednesford due to time being lost on the journey.

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Services between Hereford and Birmingham and between Northampton and London are also set to get longer carriages, to cut crowding.

West Midlands Trains, the parent company of West Midlands Railway (WMR) and London Northwestern Railway (LNR), said the changes would "not fix every issue with the current timetable" but "represent a good start".

The new December timetables applying to WMR and LNR can already be viewed online.

Both rail companies are also warning of disruption on Saturdays from 16 November due to strikes by members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union.

They are asking passengers to check on the day of travel.

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Related Topics

  • West Midlands Trains
  • Birmingham
  • Rail travel

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