Campaign to bring back commuter train from Berkswell given new lease of life - The Solihull Observer

Campaign to bring back commuter train from Berkswell given new lease of life

Solihull Editorial 6th Sep, 2017   0


A CAMPAIGN to re-instate a commuter train from Berkswell to Birmingham has been renewed by an MP after protests by families.

In May, London Midland scrapped the 8.21am service to Birmingham New Street – which was so in demand that campaigners described it as being like the London Tube in rush-hour.

This week, Meriden MP Dame Caroline Spelman has launched a fresh campaign to re-instate it – and improve the frequency of peak trains from Berkswell – following news that London Midland will cease as operators of the regional rail network from December.

In advance of the takeover by West Midlands Trains Dame Caroline has contacted their Chief Executive and Transport for West Midlands to request that they explore all possible options to reinstate the 0821 service.

The decision to withdraw the service was made on the grounds that the service was ‘too busy’ and that this contributed to delays.

In her letter to the Chief Executive of West Midlands Trains, the MP said: “It is regrettable that for some time now our regions train network has been unable to meet passenger demand.

“This has resulted in numerous delays and cancellations to services which have cost both commuters and the local economy millions of pounds each year

“With this in mind, I would like to raise your awareness of issues arising from the recent suspension of the 0821 service which previously called at Berkswell.

“Upon assuming responsibility for the operation of the regions network, [I request that] West Midlands Trains Ltd carefully consider whether it may be possible to resume the suspended service to ease journeys made from Berkswell and to restore the confidence of a significant number of my constituents who depend upon the regional railways to travel into Birmingham?”

In May protesting commuters said their family lives are being disrupted by the ‘bizarre’ scrapping of a peak-hour packed train – causing a ‘nightmare’ with the school run and working hours.

Commuter and Berkswell mum Rachel James, who launched the petition with Julie Woodfield, said: “Parents now have to drop off their kids very early at nursery or school.

“They’ve added a new service at 7.57 but why can’t that be in addition to keeping the 8.21?”

The petition stated: “London Midland have cancelled the 08:21 service which runs from Berkswell to Birmingham New Street. From 22/05/17, the services will only run at 07:57 and 08:40.

“The 08:40 train arrives at Birmingham New Street at 09:02, making it unsuitable for morning commuters who start work at 09:00.

“The change also puts a greater strain on the 07:57 service, as all current commuters will start to use this service. This service arrives at Birmingham New Street at 08:17, which is too early for people who start work at 09:00.

“As the London Midland service will continue to run from London Euston to Birmingham New Street, we would like to request that the train continues to stop at Berkswell at 08:21.”

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