TRAIN USERS in Droitwich will be able to get a railway replacement service tomorrow as the industrial action by members of the RMT union goes into its third Saturday.
West Midlands Railway came under fire a fortnight ago from Droitwich Rail User Action Group which claimed the operator had ‘forgotten’ the town in favour of ensuring other routes, such as the Cross-City Line, were covered.
They suggested road travel to Bromsgrove would enable Droitwich residents to pick up the Cross-City Line there to get into Birmingham.
Trains are running one-an-hour between Bromsgrove and Birmingham New Street.
The rail replacement buses from Droitwich to Bromsgrove are at 6.01am, 6.58am, 7.58am, 9.58am, 11am, 12.58pm, 1.58pm, 2.58pm, 3.58pm, 4.58pm, 5.58pm, 7.19pm, 8.22pm, 9.20pm and 10.18pm.
The rail replacement buses from Bromsgrove to Droitwich will run at 35 minutes past the hour every hour from 6.35am to 6.35pm. The final services will be at 7.45pm, 8.55pm, 9.55pm and 10.55pm.
The Saturdays in the run up to Christmas are among the busiest of the year on the network as people head in their droves to the Second City to do their Christmas shopping and visit the Frankfurt Christmas Market and outdoor ice rink.
Alan Humphries, the chairman of the rail user action group, welcomed the move.
He said: “It’s good news – on the first Saturday of the strike Droitwich was left stranded.”
He added he hoped the situation was resolved soon so things could return to normal.
The industrial action by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers is over ‘driver only’ trains with the RMT expressing fears on-board conductors, who ensure passenger safety by operating the doors at each station, will be axed from services.
But a West Midlands Railway spokesperson hit back saying it had never proposed driver-only trains, there was no need for the industrial action and it was very disappointed it was going ahead.
He added the company was committed to keeping a safety-critical conductor on every passenger train and had proposed a solution which met the RMT’s latest demands for the new trains when they were delivered.
And he added the operator was committed to resolving the dispute to avoid further disruption and inconvenience for passengers.
The strikes will be – from 12.01am to 11.59pm every Saturday until December 28 unless any other agreement is reached.