They say a new broom sweeps clean. Let us hope so for Herefordshire passengers on the Birmingham service, with the new operator West Midlands Trains (alias Abellio) due to start on 10 December 2017. Rail & Bus has yet to make contact with West Midlands Trains but we hope that we can forge a good relationship that will lead to a much-improved service for Herefordshire. The dying days of London Midland are marred by the increasing frequency of cancellations and trains from Birmingham turning around at both Great Malvern and Ledbury; almost now a daily occurrence.
But do not expect wonders overnight. All that will happen is that Abellio will take over everything lock, stock and barrel. It will take a while before any effects are seen but it is important that Rail & Bus are up there shouting that Herefordshire is here and deserves more from the operator than it currently receives in terms of the train service.
On the matter of the Birmingham service, it was 2014 when the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership commissioned consultants W S Atkins to report on rail services and their development in the Marches. Top of the investment priority list was the doubling of the track between Hereford (Shelwick Jcn) and Ledbury and then on to Malvern. Since that report was published together with a subsequent 2016 LEP Document ‘Investing in Strategic Corridors in the Marches’, nothing has happened. Perhaps the LEP and the local transport authorities spend too much time and money on roads. A more equitable distribution of transport funds is sorely needed in Britain.