The next few weeks will see the biggest changes to the rail network in the West Midlands
for over ten years. London Midland, who’ve operated local services and semi-
However, London Midland leave a legacy of issues that have not been dealt with, which the new brooms will need to get to grips with rather quickly.
31 October 2017
All Change and About Time Too
Firstly, staffing. Last week was school half-
CfR have also suspected for some time that London Midland mask cancellations for
This week also marks the start of the “leaf fall” timetable on the Cross City line.
It means misery for commuters, as services see skip stops and often have 3 car trains
on all station services where six would be better. CfR understands leaves on the
line are a serious problem, but the current timetable is, to put it frankly, a joke.
It is best illustrated by the trains that arrive at Longbridge – a station with
a huge car park, a new college within walking distance and a growing district of
Birmingham. Rather than picking up passengers there then running non-
Abellio have promised new trains though for the Cross City line, with the 25 year old Class 323 units being replaced with 36 three car Aventra EMU’s. Hopefully the specification will include a rather beefier traction package and a little bit more weight, so that they can cope with falling leaves rather better than the venerable class 323’s, so the leaf fall timetable, like London Midland, can be consigned to the annals of history.
Abellio have made a pledge to increase the Sunday service across the West Midlands, so that by May 2021 there are as many services on Sundays as there is on a Saturday. Given that weekend services at present are reliant on rest day and overtime working, they need to ensure they recruit more drivers and conductors to the staffing establishment is larger than that bequeathed to them by London Midland. As more and more people are travelling on a Sunday this pledge is one that we expect Abellio to keep.