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Delayed trains from Wolverhampton to London soar by 500 per cent

By Richard Guttridge | Wolverhampton | Transport | Published:

The number of severely-delayed trains between the West Midlands and London soared by more than 500 per cent in the space of two years, it has been revealed.

Services held up for at least half an hour rose by more than six times from 2016/17, when there were 21, to 2018/19, when there were 128.

In total 280 trains were delayed by more than 30 minutes between London Euston and Wolverhampton during the period.

They include services stopping at Sandwell and Dudley and Birmingham New Street stations, while passengers getting connecting services towards Stafford would also have been affected.

Disorder, drunk passengers, trespassers on the line, signal failures and issues with overhead lines were all reasons for severe delays.

It comes after it was announced commuters and passengers would face another price hike in the new year, when fares are due to rise by 2.8 per cent.

The figures showed that 67 trains were more than 100 minutes late and seven were delayed by more than 200 minutes.

The worst case involved a train in June 2017 which was delayed by four hours and 15 minutes due to a trespasser on the track. The latest train this year was delayed by more than three hours in March.

Seven services were delayed to due disorder, drunkenness or trespassing. A large number - 80 - were down to fatalities or injuries on the line.

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On 50 occasions track defects led to a delay, while 13 trains were delayed due to issues with the drivers. Six delays were caused by a security alert.

The trains all departed in the evening and terminated at Wolverhampton.

The Campaign for Better Transport said passengers on delayed services should be easily able to access compensation.

Chief executive Darren Shirley said: "Train services should match the timetable and when there are delays it should be simple for passengers to get compensation. This is vital to restoring public confidence in rail and should be central to the Government's ongoing Rail Review."

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The Liberal Democrats, which released the data following a Freedom of Information request, claimed ‘shockingly-bad’ service was putting off visitors and potential investors from the region.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Between January 2017 and April 2019 approximately 35,200 trains terminated at Wolverhampton. Although 280 of those trains were delayed by more than 30 minutes, it means that 99.2 per cent of those services were not.

“Our main priority is to get all of our passengers to where they need to be on time and safely. Sometimes delays are out of our control but when they are network related, we strive to get things back up and running as quickly as we can."

It was announced last month that HS2, which is set to provide faster journeys from the West Midlands to London, would be reviewed, with the possibility of the £80 billion scheme being scrapped completely.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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