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PM confirms ‘bell is tolling’ for Midlands rail franchise


8th January 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has today confirmed that ‘the bell is tolling’ for the West Midlands rail franchise holder following consistent reports of congestion, delays and train cancellations.

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin today quizzed the PM on plans to hold an emergency inspection by the Department for Transport, which could lead to the franchise being removed.

Harriett has held a series of emergency talks with West Midlands Trains managers over recent weeks following escalating reports of poor performance. She described the service as ‘woeful’ and has this week formally written to the Secretary of State for Transport asking for him to investigate the matter.

Harriett commented: “The rail service between the county and Birmingham has been consistently poor over recent months and my efforts to talk to the managers doesn’t seem to have any effect at all.

“I keep hearing excuses and promises of better performance in the future, but rail users want improvements now.

“The West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, has also taken a close look at this matter and he has given the company until the end of the month to show some urgent improvement.

“I am pleased that the Government is looking hard at this issue and if necessary, use its powers to strip the franchise holder of the failing services.

“I hope that the rail company is listening hard and is making an urgent plan of action to give commuters a better, value-for-money service in the coming days and weeks.”

ENDS



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