Express & Star

Commuters hit by long delays after train breakdown

Train commuters in the West Midlands have faced a day of disruption sparked by a breakdown on the line.

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West Midlands Railway services have been among those hit by disruption today

Passengers are facing up to 75 minutes of delays on trains in the Black Country and Birmingham tonight.

Network Rail said a broken down train near Coseley Railway Station this morning led to delays on the line into Birmingham New Street.

It was later moved.

However congestion has built up since and this is now causing major disruption to services at Birmingham New Street.

There is disruption affecting services into and out of Birmingham New Street Station

Officials said there were also issues with train crew availability.

West Midlands Railway tweeted to traveller: "The delays are indefinite as the signallers are having to find new slots for many displaced trains."

Trains may be cancelled, delayed or revised into the evening commute.

A Network rail spokesman said: "We anticipate disruption to services will continue for the rest of today."

CrossCountry, London Northwestern Railway, West Midlands Railway, Transport for Wales and Virgin Train services have been hit.

A train broke down near Coseley Railway Station

Angry commuters have taken to social media over the continued travel disruption.

Commuter Paul Berry wrote: "You really need to get your house in order. Utter shambles the last two days.

"Dangerously overcrowded for those ‘lucky’ enough to get on a train.

"People having to stand in toilets. Because you can’t get enough staff working? Hopelessly inept."

Another train passenger, Lee, tweeted the Express & Star to say: "Following yesterday's rail chaos, Midlands passengers are already suffering again today."

Yesterday there were also delays reportedly due to staffing shortages.

It comes after the West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, this week told senior rail executives that long-standing problems on the network are "unacceptable".

He demanded a solution to tackle issues on the railway which have caused misery for commuters, including unreliability and cancellations, over recent months.

West Midlands Trains statement

Francis Thomas, head of corporate affairs at West Midlands Trains, said: "We wholeheartedly apologise to our passengers who have been caught up in disruption this week and whose journeys have not been as good as they should have been.

"The timetable we were required to introduce in May 2019 did bring many benefits and has allowed us to carry 150,000 more passengers across our network.

"Unfortunately the timetable also brought in a layer of complexity.

"This has meant that when something goes wrong on the network, the knock-on effects are more significant and the disruption caused is greater than it would previously have been. This is what has been happening this week.

Footage: BBC

"We fully acknowledge this timetable is not working as it should be.

We are taking steps to fix it as quickly as we can by reducing this level of complexity at the next timetable change in December.

"Some of this week's problems have been caused by shortage of available train crew and we are doing all we can to mitigate this. We have been deploying driver managers and managers with conductor compentency to cover gaps wherever possible and we are continuing to work on solutions.

"We are working extremely hard to improve our current performance but while this process continues we offer our sincere apologies to passengers who have experienced issues with their journeys."

A day of travel chaos

A broken down train near Coseley was first reported at about 8am on Tuesday, but has now been repaired and is on the move.

But delays due to the breakdown are still happening.

People travelling on West Midlands Trains between Shrewsbury and Birmingham, stopping at Wolverhampton, faced delays.

Trips from Walsall and Rugeley, as well as those travelling from Liverpool and Manchester may also have been affected.

Replacement buses have been requested to report to Crewe, Wolverhampton, Birmingham New Street, Coventry and Walsall.

These buses will be controlled by station staff and will not run to a timetable.

Tickets can also be used on alternative services including the West Midlands Metro and the National Express West Midlands.

It was reported that there were also problems travelling out of Birmingham last night.

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