Following the Government’s decision to allow train operators to reduce their
services "in order to improve the reliability of their timetables" according
to Transport Secretary, Alistair Darling, angry Lichfield commuters have
contacted Michael Fabricant telling him that the reduced service between
Lichfield and Birmingham remains as unreliable as ever. A furious Michael
Fabricant has now contacted Centro Trains demanding an explanation.
Lichfield resident, Mrs Suzy Ritchie-Kennedy, commutes daily to Birmingham
for her work. She depends on a reliable train service. But she contacted
Michael Fabricant saying: "The service since the new timetable has, if
anything, got worse. Last week I caught the 4.45 p.m. train from University
to Lichfield City, it got as far as New Street and was terminated. The next
two trains only went as far as Four Oaks and Blake Street. When passengers
asked for information they were told, quite rudely, ‘Not my problem – ask
the controller’. The next train came 40 minutes later.
"On Wednesday this week the 4.45 p.m. only went as far as Blake Street
again. The next train, scheduled for Trent Valley was terminated at
Lichfield City which meant that passengers travelling to Trent Valley would
have caught three trains!
"This is no way to run a railway service. The main problem that needs to be
explored is the constant problem we have with trains being terminated before
they reach Lichfield. This problem is caused by the terms of the Charter
which will fine Centro if they do not get back to New Street on time.
Passengers come second every time! Passengers travelling further than Blake
Street have to pay over £200 extra on their rail pass, often for a reduced
service." adds Mrs Ritchie-Kennedy.
And Michael Fabricant agrees. He says "This is no way to run a train
service and it may be necessary to alter the terms of the Charter. The
reduction in train services between Lichfield and Birmingham was just about
tolerated because we were all promised an improvement in reliability. This
does not appear to be happening. If I do not receive a satisfactory
explanation from Centro and an improvement in the service, I will take this
up with the Strategic Rail Authority and with the Department of Transport in
Whitehall so that the Charter and the timetable can both be re-investigated