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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 October, 2004, 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK
Central Trains services split up
Central Trains
The government aims to reduce rail franchises nationwide from 25 to 19
A rail operator which supplies most of the West Midlands train services is to be split up.

Under plans announced by Transport Secretary Alistair Darling, Central Trains will be one of several companies to be affected in 2006.

The routes will be covered instead by Virgin Cross Country, Midland Mainline, Silverlink, Chiltern and Northern.

Central Trains covers Staffordshire, Birmingham, Warwickshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire.

John Balmforth, of the Rail Passengers Committee in the West Midlands, told BBC News Online that there will not be any immediate effects for commuters in the short term.

He said: "The reason being the services will stay the same. It will be the same trains, same timetables and the same fares.

"I think its important to add that Central Trains haven't done anything wrong."

More pressure

"The long term changes will be in the hands of the government - it depends on what they want from the rail network in the future."

The government aims to reduce the number of rail franchises nationwide by cutting them down from 25 to 19.

Mr Balmforth added that the long term effects are uncertain, but more pressure should not be put on Birmingham's New Street Station by splitting direct routes between two operators.

"Central Trains currently operate some direct services between Cardiff and Nottingham via Birmingham," he said.

"What happens if this route was given to two operators, i.e. one operator could end up running a service from Cardiff to Birmingham New Street and another operator could run trains from Birmingham to Nottingham?

"It's very important we don't put anymore pressure on Birmingham New Street by adding connections passengers will have to make if a direct route is split between two operators."

Rail contract is finally signed
19 Oct 04  |  England

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