CAMPAIGNERS gathered at Droitwich Spa train station to urge passengers to join their fight against privatisation of the UK's railways.

Members of the Droitwich and District Labour Party handed out more than 500 cards to passengers, urging them to write to Mid-Worcestershire MP Nigel Huddleston and ask for his support.

Protesters have been demonstrating at stations across the country as part of the Labour Party's Rail Rip Off campaign.

At the start of the month the price of regulated tickets (such as season tickets) went up by 1.1 per cent.

Labour councillor Alan Humphries, who sits on Droitwich Town Council, said: "I think it is dreadful the amount of money we pay for what we get.

"I would like to see him [Nigel Huddleston] support the return of the railways to public ownership but if he doesn't feel he can support that I would like to see him encouraging London Midland to improve."

Cllr Humphries said passengers were "increasingly fed up" with the standard of service they receive when travelling on the London Midland trains which run through Droitwich.

"There have been a myriad of delays already in the New Year, so it is not getting any better," said Cllr Humphries.

He added: "Over crowding and time keeping are the two major issues. People are just getting a bit disgruntled. We do not get value for money."

Droitwich MP Mr Huddleston said: "I oppose the re-nationalisation of the railways for two main reasons: first, I don’t know where the government would find the money to buy back the railways; and second, I am not convinced that services would improve as a result.

"Nationalisation of the railways would cost taxpayers billions of pounds which could only be raised by increasing taxes or cutting other public services.

"Whereas in the private sector, train operating companies have contributed billions of pounds to the public purse.

"The last five franchises let by the previous Government alone are due to pay over £9bn to the Department for Transport over the lives of their contracts.

"Since privatisation, annual rail passenger journey growth has averaged almost 4 per cent (compared to under 1 per cent per cent over the previous 60 years) and the number of passenger journeys has more than doubled.

"On a network roughly the same size as 15 years ago there are now 4,000 more services a day, passenger satisfaction scores have improved and are at a higher level now than when first collected in the late 1990s.

"While local rail services are far from ideal, significant improvements in services are planned over the coming years including a new Worcestershire Parkway Station, expanded parking at stations, station improvements and more frequent and faster services to key cities.

"I will continue to work with all interested parties to fight for improved services but I don’t think nationalisation is the answer at all."

Francis Thomas, head of corporate affairs at London Midland, admitted the service had suffered during November and December, due in part to stormy weather.

He said: "Autumn is the worst time to run trains. Apologies if people have been delayed or had less than comfortable journeys.

"Over Christmas and New Year our performance has shot back up. 90 per cent of all our trains run on time over Christmas and New Year.

"The issue we have seen in the last eight years is demand has grown by 40 per cent.

"More people than ever want to travel by train, but until we see electrification schemes completed in other parts of the country, because we are on a diesel route throughout Hereford and Worcester, we have to wait patiently until diesel trains become available."

What do you think? Let us know by tweeting @worcesternews or emailing