Beleaguered train company West Midlands Trains is under ‘constant review’ after concerns were raised over the poor performance of services between Birmingham and Malvern.
West Worcestershire MP wrote to the Department for Transport sharing her concerns after a series of complaints from local people about delays and cancellations.
And Transport Minister Huw Merriman has confirmed that the Department has had detailed conversations with the rail operator to understand the cause of a series of service issues in the run up to Christmas.
Half of the delays were caused by staff sickness and absenteeism with the company currently experiencing quadruple the levels of absenteeism compared to the national average. Delays caused by infrastructure issues and flooding amounted to two out of five instances and one in ten delays were caused by ‘passenger incidents’.
Industrial action is also a root cause of the poor service, and the Department for Transport has committed to work with the rail operator to aim for an improved performance.
Harriett said: “I wrote to the Department for Transport after receiving a disappointing letter from the managing director of West Midland Trains and the Government has carried out a full review of my concerns.
“The above-average sickness rate is troubling and it is clear that an overtime ban, and other industrial action, is directly harming the ability of my constituents to access a reliable train service to and from the second city.
“However, I have been informed that the recruitment issues are being resolved and that enough train drivers are now available to actually run the trains.
“I’ll be watching this issue closely over the coming months and I am reassured that the Department for Transport is doing exactly the same.”