Worcester MP Robin Walker has welcomed the news that West Midlands Rail has acquired two additional carriages to be added to key services running between Worcester and Birmingham at peak times. This comes after he joined fellow Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin in complaining to management of West Midlands Railways about reductions in the number of carriages at peak times and overcrowding on the vital commuter services between Malvern and Birmingham.
Robin has welcomed this temporary measure which will help ease pressure on capacity until the new timetable comes into effect in December, restoring five car services at peak times.
Robin who recently met with Francis Thomas of West Midlands Railways to pass on many complaints from constituents and to insist that the company provide a better service with more capacity at the peak travel times. He and his Worcestershire neighbour Harriett Baldwin made it clear the current service was unacceptable and that constituents would be driven to use their cars rather than the train service if it wasn’t rapidly improved.
Robin is still pushing for more capacity and faster and more regular services on this line after he recently celebrated success in his long campaign for a sub two-hour service on the line between Worcester and London. Earlier this week he announced that Great Western Railways new December timetable would deliver better services in both directions and achieve the milestone of running trains between London and Worcester in under two hours. Robin recognises that travelling to Birmingham is a necessity for many constituents and that many people would prefer to travel by train than car for environmental reasons, he has been pressing for more services and more capacity on both lines and will continue to do so.
Speaking after the news, Robin said:
“Having travelled myself on some of the overcrowded services from Birmingham to Worcester in the early evening and having heard from many constituents their huge frustration at the fact that carriages were taken away from our line to serve others, I have been pressing hard for more capacity on this line. Harriett and I met with West Midlands Railways at the House of Commons earlier this month and insisted that WMR scour the rail network for more carriages. We’ve also been raising concerns with the department of transport and I even pressed West Midlands Mayor Andy Street for his support.”
“It is a huge relief to know that there will be extra carriages as soon as the end of this week, but I hope that West Midlands Railways will now realise that Worcestershire commuters need a better service with more capacity and better rolling stock. I want to see an end to the old crowded two car trains that don’t have decent facilities and I was pleased to have confirmation that WMR will prioritise new trains and carriages to our part of the track. Whilst the new carriages are an interim measure, I want to see this busy and important line improved permanently so that Worcester commuters can travel in comfort.”
The email from West Midlands Rail addressed to Robin Walker and Harriett Baldwin read:
When we met in Portcullis House recently, we said we were continuing to scour the rail network to find additional rolling-stock for the Birmingham – Worcester-Hereford line. While we have a brand-new fleet of diesel trains on order, we recognise that this route needs more capacity as soon as possible.
I am pleased to say that over the weekend we took delivery of two additional carriages which we have been able to borrow from our sister company, East Midlands Railway, until mid-December. We have some final paperwork to do but the aim is to get these trains on the route by the end of the week. Specifically, we are looking to strengthen the 0709 Hereford to New St and the 150 and 1620 departures from New St to Hereford.
This is a temporary move until the December timetable change. At this point we will have extra electric trains allowing us to reallocate our own diesel trains to support the Hereford-Worcester-New St line.
In addition, from mid- November, we will be scheduling all our Hereford – New St Sunday services to be five cars (instead of three) to support increased demand for Christmas markets.
As you know we have prioritised your line for the brand-new Class 196 trains as the enter service in the second half of next year.
Notes to editors
For the latest information on GWR’s timetable and plans for December 15th please see:
For Robin’s previous campaigns for faster services see: