Business as usual, says train firm London Midland

Monday 10 December 2012 Updated: 14/12 15:51

LONDON Midland trains will return to normal from today (Monday) after weeks of disruption because of driver shortages.

The company, which runs trains through Solihull, said all shifts would now be covered and it would be able to run all of its 1,300 scheduled services because its new batch of trainees had completed their training.

It has also been decided that Virgin will hold on to its contract to run the West Coast Mainline - for now.

A two year contract was agreed with the government weeks after it lost the franchise to rival First Group. However, the process by which the tenders were assessed was found to have been done incorrectly and will be restarted again in the new year.

Trains will continue to operate under the Virgin Trains brand name, serving London, the Midlands, the North West, north Wales and Scotland.

It coincides with the early completion of a government-backed deal to roll out 106 new Pendolino carriages with four new 11-carriage trains and lengthening 31 existing trains from nine carriages to 11, adding 28,000 seats to services.

A new hourly service between London and Glasgow has also been introduced.

Chief executive Tony Collins said: "We have had great support from staff and customers in recent months and we will repay that loyalty with even better service.

"We are proud of what we have achieved since 1997, but there is undoubtedly more to come and we will work closely with the Department for Transport to bring even better services in future."

Secretary of state for transport Patrick McLoughlin said: "We are determined to ensure not only that passengers continue to experience the same levels of service they have in the past, but that services improve."

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