“I am backing West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, in his ultimatum to West Midlands Trains following the train company’s announcement that their managing director, Jan Chaudry-van-der-Velde, will be replaced by Julian Edwards” says Michael Fabricant. Jan Chaudry-van-der-Velde and Julian Edwards will work together during a handover period until Easter.
But Andy Street has said “A change in management does not change my ultimatum. Whether it is Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, Julian Edwards, or both in charge, if a reliable service is not restored by midnight on January 31st then my request to remove the franchise from West Midlands Trains will be sent to the Department for Transport.” Andy Street has devolved transport powers in the West Midlands Combined Authority region.
Michael Fabricant says “Lichfield is not in the Combined Authority, but I shall act in support of Andy Street if he seeks to remove the franchise from West Midlands Trains. Many of my constituents commute on the Cross City Line across to Birmingham and elsewhere while others commute down to London. An unreliable service due to staff shortages and other factors is making their life a misery. Too many of my constituents are missing work appointments and I know of at least one case where a Lichfield resident has found it difficult to get to hospital in Birmingham in time for surgery.
“Not every issue on the trains is due to the train company. I am well aware that some delays have been caused by signalling problems, vandalism, train breakdowns, and trespass on the railway. I also know of the huge investment West Midlands Trains are making in new rolling stock and at stations. But many of the delays and cancellations are of West Midlands Trains own making. This has to stop.
“Their new managing director, Julian Edwards, must now quickly get a grip” Michael adds.