A howl of protest was heard from Lichfield Trent Valley railway station
a few days ago from pensioners, students and others who saw a new poster
in the ticket office stating that the 9.19am mid-morning train to London
starting on September 27th would be full fare. The first cheap fare
would not be until 3.20pm arriving in London at 5.16pm!
"This was barmy" says Michael Fabricant. When I sat down with the
Strategic Rail Authority months ago to discuss the new timetable, I
talked of the need for an additional direct train service from Lichfield
which would arrive before lunchtime and which would be a cheap ‘saver’
service for those who needed to save money and didn’t have to travel at
peak times. The 9.19 service which arrives in London at 10.45am was
added as a direct consequence of our meeting. It is therefore barking
mad that this service is to be charged at full rate. This offers no
choice to visitors to London; they would have to stay there overnight
to attend any day time meetings or events and that costs a fortune".
Michael immediately contacted Virgin and the Strategic Rail Authority.
"I emailed and wrote formally to the directors as the new timetable
starts on Monday. And we have had success!" says Michael.
Charles Belcher, Managing Director of Virgin West Coast Trains has told
Michael: "We have picked up this unintended consequence of the
timetable change and will exercise discretion within our standard Saver
restrictions to accommodate Lichfield. I do hope that your constituents
like the new service".
Michael Fabricant says "The Strategic Rail Authority have also now made
it clear to me that the 9.19 will, indeed, be available on saver tickets
as was originally intended. For once, common sense has prevailed and