Michael Fabricant met with the Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, the managing director of West Midland Trains shortly before Christmas. “We discussed in detail the facilities at Lichfield City and Lichfield Trent Valley stations as well as services on the two rail franchises they have taken over from London-Midland. I raised a whole series of issues with him” says Michael. West Midland Trains Limited operate West Midlands Railway which includes the cross-city line into Birmingham and London Northwestern Railway which operates from London to Crewe via Lichfield Trent Valley.
“Jan has now got back to me” says Michael. “Following meetings Jan has had with Network Rail, they have confirmed to him – and now to me – that work will begin on the construction of the two lifts to the upper platform at Lichfield Trent Valley this summer. This will give disabled access to all three platforms. And it will be a real boon to those carrying heavy luggage and baby buggies.
“I have also asked that WM trains investigate constructing a ramp from the new car park at LTV down to the London bound platform and they have confirmed that their Customer Services Director has been tasked with exploring possibilities.”
Michael also raised the lack of adequate toilet facilities at both Lichfield stations. Mr Chaudhry-van der Velde has responded: “Concerning the toilets at Lichfield City station, I know you are aware of the history as to why the facilities are locked out of use. Like you, I am keen to see this matter resolved. I believe we have several options to explore”.
These options include:
- Re-open the toilets and monitor over a fixed period – this may depend on the state of the toilets given the long period of non-use
- Re-open the disabled toilet accessed via the waiting room with ‘buzz-in’ access monitored by CCTV
- Re-locate the toilets to the ticket hall
“And finally”, adds Michael, “a basic food service will be investigated for the London to Crewe route and I know that will be welcomed by hungry commuters.
“Of course we also discussed punctuality and reliability of services to and from Birmingham and to London. WM Trains are investing in 100 brand new carriages on the Cross City Line alone and Network Rail are seeking improvements to the congestion at Birmingham New Street which will all help. There will also be earlier and later trains on the Birmingham line as well as more services on a Sunday.
“None of this can happen overnight, but I am confident that over the next couple of years we will begin to see major improvements on the trains and at both our Lichfield stations.”