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Wolverhampton commuters speak out on West Midlands Railway services

By Megan Archer | Wolverhampton | Transport | Published:

"People just want their trains to be on time, that's what it comes down to."

Commuters at Wolverhampton Railway Station speak about the performance of West Midlands Trains

Overcrowding, delays, cancellations – commuters across the Black Country have spoken out about poor service on West Midlands Trains.

Alex Boys, aged 37, often gets the train to Sheffield and London but used to commute regularly from Wolverhampton to Birmingham.

But he said he ended up cycling the near 20 miles each way into Birmingham as it actually look less time than trying to get on a train.

Alex, who lives in Walsall and is the chief executive of charity One Walsall, said: "I think there are positive things happening, and it's good there's investment, but I think everything should be invested – like better connections for cyclists.

"10 years ago I was commuting to Birmingham and it was quicker to cycle. Short journeys were the worst, and it was so frustrating to keep checking different platforms.

"But now, with going to Sheffield or London I book in advance and usually have no problems."

Wayne Pottinger, 45, a lecturer at Birmingham City University who lives in Finchfield, Wolverhampton, says the service has been inconsistent.

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He commutes from Wolverhampton to Birmingham New Street each day and said people just wanted their trains to be on time.

"I'd probably say after Christmas there were a lot of delays, it was inconvenient, and with recent weather on Monday I had to get the tram instead," he said.

"I think people just want their trains to be on time – that's what it comes down to."

Fiona Dornan often travels from Wolverhampton to London for work

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Fiona Dornan, 55, lives in Compton and often travels up to Chester and London for her work as a retail operations manager.

She said: "I think it's quite poor in terms of delays and cancellations. I reckon it will just stay the same though.

"It's not just West Midlands Railway - they're all subject to delays and overcrowding.

"I think it's down to the fact that there are so many people now. The whole infrastructure needs to change."

Nicola Fairbother, 50, from Tipton, takes the train to Wolverhampton every Wednesday to meet her friend.

"It's usually fine for me, on that train," she said. "I never really have to deal with overcrowding.

"But it's a mess if I go on an earlier train. If I get one between 7am and 8am it's a nightmare, I wouldn't be able to sit down.

"I'm disabled too which is another problem when getting a train.

"The trains are just not big enough, sometimes there's only three carriages. I don't know what they are doing.

"I feel like too much money is being spent on HS2, when really it should be spent on trains here, now.

"Will it be too expensive to travel on HS2? And will that drive the prices of normal trains up?"

The Government has told WMT it must spend an extra £20m improving services and reducing delays.

Liam Thornton travels to Birmingham New Street every day

Liam Thornton, a stock manager at The Alexandra theatre in Birmingham, lives in Sedgley but gets the train from Wolverhampton to Birmingham New Street every day.

He said: "My journey is ok. I'm not the type to complain about delayed services as it's something that comes with any public transport.

"It depends on how this £20m is spent. I think they definitely need to look at timetables, and which services are more congested.

"I go to New Street and back every day, and it's difficult at times. Some services get cancelled more than others. It's often the ones with all the local stops that get congested.

"Sometimes they announce why the train is delayed and when they say it's down to 'unavailability of train crew' then you can really sense the tension in passengers. "

Paul Jones has been riding the train from Liverpool to Wolverhampton for a job this week

Paul Jones, 42, isn't a regular commuter to Wolverhampton. This week he's been travelling to the city from his home in Liverpool for his work as associate director at Fastline Steel Services.

He said a lot of money had been recently invested on train services in Liverpool.

"It's been ok here. The other day my journey was delayed so I applied for a refund. But other than that I've always had a seat. If the weather is bad the trains do suffer, but I've had to option to drive here and I've always taken the train."

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email megan.archer@expressandstar.co.uk.

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