Trouble on the railways – continued

TrainsOpposition is growing to rail group London Midland’s plans to cut staffing levels at their stations in the region. The plan, revealed earlier this month, would lead to 130 job losses and leave some of the area’s busiest stations completely unmanned while many others would be without staff except at peak times. The plans have come in for wide-ranging criticism, with rail union leader Bob Crowe, speaking exclusively to Birmingham Press, saying that “Someone may die” as a result of the proposals.

Now there have been calls for the rail company to lose its franchise, due for renewal in 2015, should the cuts be implemented. A meeting earlier this week at the headquarters of regional transport body Centro saw London Midland bosses face tough questioning amidst fears that crime would increase at unstaffed stations and passenger revenues will drop as fare evasion becomes easier.

Rail watchdog Passenger Focus is also reported to have criticised the proposals in a report due out next week, after consultation with passengers has been completed. The independent consumer group, whose report last month into unstaffed stations elsewhere highlighted concerns about personal safety and problems with ticket buying, said they were opposed to the proposals and added that there had been strong opposition from local rail users.

London Midland have emphasised that the proposal needs to be approved by the Department for Transport, and their plans are still at the consultancy stage.