Latest Rail News


£7m compensation for London Midland passengers

Passengers on London Midland will be offered free and discounted travel after months of cancellations and delays on the franchise.

Rail minister Norman Baker has announced that London Midland will have to provide a £7m compensation package, as well as spending more on infrastructure improvements to avoid future disruption.

Season ticket holders will be given five days worth of free travel passes, and 500,000 discounted tickets will be made available.

Baker said: “London Midland has cancelled or delayed hundreds of services in recent months. Securing these benefits for passengers represents a firm yellow-card for London Midland and some financial benefit for those who have been hardest hit by their poor performance.

“I am confident London Midland has now rectified their driver shortage but the company need to be clear that we will continue to monitor their performance closely and take firmer action if necessary.”

There has been extreme disruption on the line in recent months, due to the company being unable to provide enough drivers. This was felt most keenly in the West Midlands. After the Olympics many of London Midland’s staff took leave which they had been unable to take during the Games, leading to shortages and cancellations of services.

A statement on the operator’s website reads: “Although we worked hard to ensure the shortage was addressed and resolved as quickly as possible, we recognise that recent disruption has been unacceptable to passengers. It is also not what we expect of ourselves and we are sorry for letting you down.”

Labour peer Lord Hunt said in the Lords in the autumn: “[There is a] general obligation contained in the franchise agreement…that the operator should undertake its job with a ‘degree of skill, diligence, prudence and foresight’. The problem with the London Midland service is a shortage of drivers. I would have thought that that is ample evidence for an intervention into the franchise agreement. This company is not fit to run the franchise.” 

Rail minister Earl Attlee said at the time: “It is important to understand that all train operating companies rely on rest-day working but only to the extent of about 3% or thereabouts, whereas this operator is now in the region of 6%. A shortage of drivers causes a serious problem for that operator but it is the train operating company's problem.” 

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment



Rail industry Focus

  • 11/09/2019The next generation of rail infrastructure

    How the rail industry delivers the next generation of complex infrastructure will rely heavily on the people tasked with leading the projects, and the technology they use to do it. Faithful+Gould...
  • 11/09/2019Putting passengers first

    How does the rail industry design the railways for the next 40 years, and when it does, how do we make sure it’s all done with the passenger in mind? Jane Fisher joined three members of the Arup team...
View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

Connecting Network Rail with the supply chain

17/09/2019Connecting Network Rail with the supply chain

Continuing our mission to connect buyers with suppliers, This year TransCityRail North is adding a new element to the event. We are introducing an incomparable opportunity for you to meet with over 11 procurement directors from Network Rail... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

24/06/2019Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

Ahead of his appearance, Malcolm Holmes spoke with Rail Technology Magazine about what key leaders in the industry were doing to improve rail in the Midlands. He said: “It’s very... more >