After more than three years of negotiations with the Department of
Transport and Virgin Trains, a new timetable from mid-December onwards
was agreed with Michael Fabricant at a meeting in the House of Commons
with representatives from the Department of Transport. "This is not a
perfect solution, but the new timetable represents a major improvement
on current services linking Lichfield to London. It secures the City as
a firm base for the many Lichfield residents who hold down top jobs in
London. Not every commuter will be satisfied, but I am sure many will
be pleased and relieved" says Michael Fabricant.
"The downside is that one of the current three fast Virgin morning
trains to London will be axed. But this will be supplemented by the
slower hourly service provided by London Midland where no service exists
at present. Meanwhile, there will be additional high speed trains –
five in all – returning from London back to Lichfield in the evening
plus the London Midland stopping services. And at weekends there will
be a regular hourly stopping service either way on Saturdays while on
Sundays there will be a 2 hourly service running for most of the day.
"Of course, I would like to have seen more Virgin Trains stopping at
Lichfield Trent Valley. I raised this recently with Ruth Kelly,
Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons. She said
‘Clearly, there is a trade-off between reductions in journey time and
the number of stations where trains stop’. The Government has decided
to give greater priority to major centres of population. However, I am
being advised that with some further tweaking of train timetables, extra
fast Virgin train links may be possible" Michael adds.
Virgin services to London will take around 1 hour 18 minutes while the
hourly London Midland Service which travels via Northampton will take 2
hours 9 minutes. However, by changing at Rugby and joining the linking
Virgin service, the hourly service journey time can be reduced to 1 hour
33 minutes in total.
Michael says: "I am grateful for the support I have received from the
Lichfield Commuters’ Club and individual commuters who have joined me
and helped apply pressure on the Government".