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West Midland commuters angry as train pain strikes again

Network Rail has admitted it is still not confident the problems on the Stratford to Snow Hill line which goes through Solihull have been fixed.

Gareth Fuller/PA Wire Commuters waiting on a platform
Commuters waiting on a platform

A series of failures on a busy commuter rail line has caused misery for passengers with almost 6,400 minutes of delays in the last two weeks.

Network Rail has admitted it is still not confident the problems on the Stratford to Snow Hill line which goes through Solihull have been fixed.

Since November 18 there have been seven days which have been hit with serious problems, including full shut downs of the track.

Operator London Midland revealed its services had been seriously hit by the problems which have been caused by signalling faults.

On November 18 the first shutdown hit and services were suspended. Train passengers had to put up with bus replacements for the next four days.

Despite extensive engineering work by Network Rail the next issue hit on November 21 during the evening peak. On November 30 the signalling again went down, then on December 1 there were no trains until the evening peak.

Again this week on December 2 the problem reoccurred.

London Midland revealed that in total so far the signalling problems had caused 6,341 minutes of delays for travellers.

Some 224 trains were partly cancelled – they started their journeys but did not complete them, and 41 never started.

Frustrated passengers took to Twitter to vent their anger.

Jo Owen said: “Shocking that @LondonMidland still unable to run a service on Stratford-Birmingham line 2 weeks after signalling problems started.”

Ann Gallagher said: “My journey from Yardley Wood to Snow Hill – late yesterday – staff ??? Signals ??? Get it sorted !! This has been going on for a few days – cost me a fortune to get a relative from Snow Hill in taxi other day.”

A spokesman for London Midland said: “While the impact has not been as bad as two weeks ago, we were very disappointed when Network Rail reported further problems on the line.

“We are really sorry to our passengers who have had to put up with still more disruption on the Snow Hill line.

“Regardless of the cause we want to apologise to our passengers for the inconvenience caused by the ongoing signalling problems.”

John Lamb, from Birmingham’s Chamber of Commerce, said the series of problems was a problem for businesses in the city.

He said: “Clearly there has been disruption to businesses which has been caused by this, with people arriving late for their jobs.

“It shows the desperate need for increased investment in the infrastructure to avoid issues like this.”

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “This is an unusual situation and we apologise for the inconvenience caused.

“Anyone planning to travel by train should check with National Rail Enquiries for the latest information.”

 

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