24th Sep, 2020

Whistle blows for beleaguered manager of West Midlands Trains

John Carlon 14th Jan, 2020 Updated: 14th Jan, 2020

REGIONAL railway company West Midlands Trains has replaced its director as it faces criticism over the performance of services.

The company has come under fire from passengers and politicians, since figures from the Office of Road and Rail showed over half the company’s trains were late in November 2019.

Last month, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street gave West Midlands Trains an ultimatum to improve its performance or face being stripped of its franchise by February.

The company has named Julian Edwards as its new managing director, taking over from Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde.

Mr Edwards has worked for West Midlands Trains since 2017 and he was recently the managing director of the East Midlands Railway.

In a statement, West Midlands Trains said Mr Chaudhry-van de Velde would work with Mr Edwards until Easter, ‘to ensure a smooth transition.’

In the House of Commons on January 8, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would also look at revoking West Midlands Trains franchise in the light of its dire performance.

Mr Edwards, former finance director at London Midland, said “This is an exciting time to be joining West Midlands Trains as passengers will start to see the benefits of our £1 billion investment programme. The last six months has been very difficult for West Midlands Trains. I would like to thank Jan for addressing many of the issues, including settling the dispute with the RMT, delivering a three per cent discount for season ticket holders, introducing more rolling stock in December and the recent timetable changes that are already making a positive impact on train performance.

“There is still much to do. Work is well advanced on further performance improvements, the May 2020 timetable, additional compensation for non-season ticket holders and the roll out of two brand new train fleets starting in the second half of this year. The introduction of our new trains combined with the investment programme in stations and customer services and the much needed changes to timetables in 2020 gives us the opportunity, to have a railway the people of West Midlands Trains and our customers can be proud of.”

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