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Rail complaints 'disappointing' says Stourbridge MP Margot James

By David Cosgrove | Transport | Published:

Complaints over railway services in the West Midlands are 'disappointing' but not 'surprising', an MP has said.

Margot James

New figures show that Virgin Trains West Coast and Arriva Trains Wales, which both run through the region, were two of the most complained about operators.

Cross Country and London Midlands also came in for criticism.

Stourbridge Conservative MP Margot James said: "It is disappointing to see the rail operators in this region being some of the most complained about, although I am not totally surprised.

"These figures are, however, from a period that is normally quieter on the trains. If these figures were for the months running up to Christmas, they could have been much worse. In terms of the complaints about London Midland’s services, I am not surprised to see punctuality and capacity being key issues, indeed they are problems that the Chase Line passengers have suffered, particularly at this time of year."

Virgin Trains West Coast received 158 complaints per 100,000 passenger journeys from April to June. The service runs from Birmingham to Scotland stopping at Wolverhampton and Stafford.

Arriva Trains Wales had 106 complaints made per 100,000 journeys during the same period. The German-based firm operates the Wales and Border line, which starts from Birmingham and stops at Smethwick Galton Bridge and Wolverhampton. But it will cease running the service in October next year.

The two companies come second and third in a national list of the most complained about operators in the three months. Out of the 20 franchised rail operators, only the Caledonia Sleeper got more with 196 complaints.

Other rail franchises operating in the region include Cross Country and London Midland, with 42 and 31 complaints per 100,000 passenger journeys respectively. Cross Country runs services from the South West to Manchester, stopping at Wolverhampton. London Midlands runs local services across Staffordshire, the Black Country and Birmingham.

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Four out of 10 complaints to Arriva Trains Wales were over the use of smart cards on services, but 31 per cent passengers also complained about punctuality and 13 per cent about insufficient room on trains.

On Virgin Trains West Coast, almost one in five most complaints were over the facilities on board, followed by ticket buying, punctuality and insufficient room.

Four out of 10 complaints on Cross Country were mostly over punctuality, while a quarter were about on-board facilities and one in 10 insufficient room.

On London Midland passengers more than half of complaints were about punctuality, with others unhappy about difficulties with ticket buying and insufficient room.

David Cosgrove

By David Cosgrove
Deputy Chief Reporter - @davidcosgrove_

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