Michael Fabricant is supporting angry local commuters who are objecting to the cancellation of the early morning 5.59am train service to London Euston from Lichfield Trent Valley. The early morning service which gets Lichfield and Burntwood businessmen into London at 7.41am (when the trains are running on time) is removed from the timetable as from 21st May. Lichfield commuters are being asked to drive to Tamworth or Derby for their early morning train service instead. (The next commuter train from Lichfield does not arrive at Euston until 9am and transport to central London can take a further 40 minutes. A 9.40am start is unacceptable to most London firms). Around 100 people commute to London each week, many every day, from Lichfield Trent Valley railway station on the 5.59am train.
Michael Fabricant is contacting the Strategic Rail Authority, Railtrack, Virgin Trains, and Lord MacDonald (Minister for Transport) to ask why this service has been discontinued. "The withdrawal of the 05.59 service is totally unacceptable to me and to my constituents", says Michael Fabricant. "It makes no sense at all for this service to stop at Tamworth and not at Lichfield. Between 18th April and 24th April – excluding the weekend days, 21st and 22nd – 109 passengers boarded the train at Lichfield Trent Valley while only 38 boarded at Tamworth. Not to mince my words, this is a reflection of the different demographics of Lichfield and Tamworth. Lichfield has a far higher percentage than the nation’s average of well educated professionals. This change makes no sense in terms of the service provided nor financially for Virgin.
"I shall be making these points to the Strategic Rail Authority and others. I will also check the terms of Virgin’s original Franchise Agreement to determine whether or not they are in breach of their service contract. In any event, this degradation in an already poor service cannot be tolerated. This will leave only four direct trains a day from Lichfield down to London. It is beyond the pale".