London Midland's poor service is "not acceptable" says MP

Watford’s MP has branded the service London Midland trains is providing for rail passengers in the town "not acceptable".

Richard Harrington has said he is meeting bosses at the rail operator over the recent problems with the Abbey Flyer service between Watford and St Albans, which he said were having a "massive impact" on commuters.

London Midland has frequently cancelled the service between Watford Junction and St Albans Abbey Station recently citing a lack of staff. As a result commuters have been left to get a replacement bus service.

Mr Harrington said: "With so many residents of Watford relying on London Midland, these ongoing problems are having a massive impact.

"I have been very concerned with the scale of the problems particularly in the last few weeks. While I obviously appreciate that technical and mechanical failures can and do happen, a lot of the issues seen in the last week have been due to staff shortages and so forth.

"People in Watford are paying a lot of money to use London Midland trains and the level of service we have seen are not acceptable. I will be putting this case to the company and invite anyone in Watford who has experienced problems to get in touch so that I can raise it with them."

This week London Midland apologised to residents affected by the frequent cancellation of the Abbey Flyer service. However it urged passengers to keep an eye out for updates on the service to ensure they are not caught out by last minute changes.

Richard Brooks, commercial director at London Midland, said: "We apologise to all those passengers affected and thank them for their continued patience. Our driver shortage has been caused by a vacancy gap and we are working hard to resolve this.

“In the meantime, we will be ensuring we give passengers advance notice of any changes. We believe this will provide passengers with more certainty, enable better journey planning and improve the travel experience."

Comments (4)

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2:42pm Wed 14 Nov 12

inayellowshirt says...

its not just the Abbey Flyer. My partner commutes to London and the service to Euston has been shocking recently, with cancelled and delayed trains.

Rip off, poor service Britain!
its not just the Abbey Flyer. My partner commutes to London and the service to Euston has been shocking recently, with cancelled and delayed trains. Rip off, poor service Britain! inayellowshirt

2:56pm Wed 14 Nov 12

TRT says...

Actually, I kind of sympathise with LM over the staffing gap. It's caused by other operators offering higher pay and accepting only trained drivers, whereas LM are a TOC that takes applicant from non-drivers and trains those that meet the required health and fitness standard. The cost of the training is quite significant. A driver can give three months notice, but it will take 9 months to train his or her replacement. What are they expected to do? Match the other company's pay offer and put the fares up to cover it? Reduce the shareholder dividend perhaps? Doesn't look so good for the investors then.
No, we need nationally agreed driver pay and conditions, and a national driver training and recruitment centre. Wouldn't cost the earth and it would level the playing field a bit.
Actually, I kind of sympathise with LM over the staffing gap. It's caused by other operators offering higher pay and accepting only trained drivers, whereas LM are a TOC that takes applicant from non-drivers and trains those that meet the required health and fitness standard. The cost of the training is quite significant. A driver can give three months notice, but it will take 9 months to train his or her replacement. What are they expected to do? Match the other company's pay offer and put the fares up to cover it? Reduce the shareholder dividend perhaps? Doesn't look so good for the investors then. No, we need nationally agreed driver pay and conditions, and a national driver training and recruitment centre. Wouldn't cost the earth and it would level the playing field a bit. TRT

3:00pm Wed 14 Nov 12

TRT says...

And as for Harrington... it was his Conservative party that caused the problem in the first place!
And as for Harrington... it was his Conservative party that caused the problem in the first place! TRT

4:13pm Wed 14 Nov 12

Andrew1963 says...

Plus the abbey line was suppossed to have been converted into a tramway by now - Tory run Herts county council seem to have dropped that plan, which is a shame, as clearly trains between watford and st albans fall down the pecking order compared to running trains to London. The tram also offered the prospect of future extensions by road to both town centres
Plus the abbey line was suppossed to have been converted into a tramway by now - Tory run Herts county council seem to have dropped that plan, which is a shame, as clearly trains between watford and st albans fall down the pecking order compared to running trains to London. The tram also offered the prospect of future extensions by road to both town centres Andrew1963

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