London Midland is introducing a temporary leaf fall timetable on its Cross City line again this year. The autumn timetable, which affects Monday – Saturday services, will apply from Monday, 30 October until Saturday, 9 December.
The main change for passengers travelling on the route, which runs from Lichfield in the north, through Birmingham and on to Redditch, is that not all trains will stop at every station. This means there will be fewer train services from some stations*.
Autumn leaf fall creates challenging driving conditions for trains. The wheels and rails become coated with a hard residue, making the rail head slippery, so our drivers need to slow down to adapt to the driving conditions. Each year the special timetable helps improve punctuality and last autumn saw the best performance for four years reducing delays by two-thirds comparted with 2013.
The adverse driving conditions means trains have to travel more slowly through affected areas. Conditions can vary by location from day to day. Train companies have found the best solution is to run an amended timetable instead of making ad-hoc adjustments when delays start to happen. This means passengers benefit from a structured and more predictable train service with better reliability.
Rob Hornsey, head of Cross City Services said, “Autumn is when the risk of delays increases significantly, so it’s right that we make changes.
“We listen carefully to passengers and have reviewed feedback from last year. I firmly believe the changes we are making offer a safe and sensible solution and will help to minimise delays and keep our passengers moving”.
Amending the timetable is just one step in the process of preparing for autumn. We have worked closely with Network Rail to reduce the impact of leaf fall, from identifying ‘hot spots’ for cutting back trees and vegetation, to defining the most effective times of the day to spray clean the rails.
Rob added, “We’re doing everything we can to mitigate the impact of leaf fall and deliver the best possible service for passengers.
“The key advice for passengers is ‘Check before you travel’ and there are a number of ways to do that. A printed version of the autumn timetable is available from all stations on the route and you can also check the London Midland app and website – where a dedicated leaf fall page has been created at www.londonmidland.com/leaffall.”
Notes to Editors
*The key features of the timetable change are as follows:
An Autumn Timetable will operate Monday - Saturday during the period of Monday 30th October to Saturday 9th December until approximately 20:00 each evening.
Cross City North
- 15 and 45 minutes past the hour departures from Lichfield City to Longbridge will depart 2 minutes later and run non-stop between Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham New Street
- 07:40 Lichfield Trent Valley - Redditch will start forward from Lichfield City and will only omit Duddeston
- 08:10 Lichfield Trent Valley - Longbridge will only omit Duddeston
- 45 minutes past the hour Longbridge - Lichfield City and 55 minutes past the hour Redditch - Lichfield City will run non-stop from Birmingham New Street to Sutton Coldfield. These services will depart Birmingham New Street as booked, but Sutton Coldfield slightly earlier
- Lichfield Trent Valley will be served half hourly, with some services towards Birmingham starting forward from Lichfield City, and some services to Lichfield terminating short at Lichfield City.
- Duddeston will be served half hourly at 06 and 36 minutes past the hour southbound
Cross City South
- 46 minutes past the hour Four Oaks - Longbridge and 50 minutes past the hour Lichfield Trent Valley - Longbridge will run non-stop Selly Oak - Longbridge, with the exception of the 16:50 which will call at Bournville, Kings Norton and Northfield
- 02 minutes past the hour Longbridge - Lichfield Trent Valley and 22 minutes past the hour Longbridge - Four Oaks services will start forward from Selly Oak at the booked time
- 07:22 and 08:02 departures from Longbridge will not be altered
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Since 2007, London Midland has been providing train services to and from London in the south, to Birmingham in the Midlands and Liverpool in the north-west. Over 70 million passenger journeys a year are made using on the network and London Midland manages 150 stations and operates 1,300 services a day.
London Midland is owned by Govia, the partnership between the Go-Ahead Group and Keolis. Govia is the UK’s busiest rail operator, responsible for nearly 30 per cent of UK passenger rail journeys through its three rail companies, GTR (which includes Gatwick Express services), Southeastern and London Midland. Further information on Govia is available at www.govia.info
London Midland has won a range of awards, including Best Local Transport Integration, five Rail Business Awards for marketing, public relations and customer information, five Golden Spanner Awards for Engineering, three IOIC awards for internal communication and three Railstaff Awards for Outstanding Customer Service, Lifesaving and Charity Work. In 2017 London Midland was named as Britain's most improved train company by the Institute of Rail Operators and the UK's most improved organisation for customer service in the UKCSI survey.
In 2017 London Midland was awarded the Investors in People (IiP) Gold Award and been awarded the 5 Star award by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) in 2014.