'This has to be addressed, and fast': Mayor tells rail chiefs network problems are 'unacceptable'
Furious Mayor Andy Street has told senior rail executives that current problems on the network are "unacceptable".
The West Midlands Mayor has demanded a solution to tackle issues on the railway which have caused misery for commuters, including unreliability and cancellations, over recent months.
Problems have worsened on West Midlands rail network since the timetable change in May and the mayor insists it is not good enough.
Representatives from Network Rail, West Midlands Trains and the West Midlands Rail Executive were summoned to a meeting the mayor this week to discuss what has gone wrong.
It comes after the Express & Star revealed last week a quarter of passengers on West Midlands Trains, the main provider of services through the Black Country, are being forced to stand during morning rush-hour.
Mr Street said: “Our rail network had previously been running well, with this positive performance reflected by a significant increase in those across the region opting for train travel.
“This current situation is unacceptable and has to improve rapidly."
The Mayor said he had held frank discussions with rail bosses about changes needed.
He said: "I have told Network Rail, West Midlands Trains, and the West Midlands Rail Executive that they must provide clear and quick solutions to the current problems. As part of this, I have also pledged to work with them to help pull the network through this tricky period.”
Mr Street has been alarmed by latest figures showing train performance is at its worst since West Midlands Trains took over the franchise around 18 months ago.
The Mayor said: “It is well documented that London and the North have serious issues with their trains, and so I am determined that we nip our problems in the bud and go back to being one of the best performing regions in the country when it comes to train performance.
“On top of the meeting with senior executives, a task force has also been set up to get to the root of the current problems and fix them as quickly as possible. I have been encouraged by the task force’s findings that our problems can be addressed effectively – and indeed October’s cancellation figures show we are moving in the right direction.
“I am also convinced that solutions to the capacity problem across the network – particularly on the cross-city line – can be solved and I have ordered our regional rail leaders to scour the country for extra carriages. No stone can be left unturned in this effort, and I have made that crystal clear to those involved.
“Currently there are too many passengers left stuck waiting for trains that are either delayed, cancelled, or simply too full to get on. This has to be addressed, and fast.”