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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 December 2005, 23:35 GMT
Firm sorry over rail disruption
Central Train
All services in the West Midlands were cancelled
Central Trains has apologised to its passengers after being forced to cancel all its services in the West Midlands.

The firm had to cancel all its Sunday services from Birmingham after finding too few drivers were prepared to work.

Drivers at Central Trains are not contracted to work on Sundays, with services covered by staff overtime.

Gary Clarke, chairman of the West Midlands Passenger Transport Authority, criticised the stoppage, and called for talks to stop it happening again.

We have simply not had enough staff to run our services
Steve Banaghan, Central Trains

In a statement, Central Trains' managing director Steve Banaghan said: "We apologise to all our passengers, particularly on such a busy day for Christmas shopping.

"An exceptional number of drivers who would normally be working on routes in the West Midlands did not volunteer to work.

"Whilst we have done our best to run as many services as possible we have simply not had enough staff to run our services in the West Midlands."

Mr Clarke said: "I would urge Central Trains, Aslef and the drivers to resolve their differences as soon as possible to ensure there is no future similar disruption at such short notice."

It is understood fewer than a third of the 150 drivers who would usually volunteer for overtime had done so.

The shutdown extended along lines to Lichfield, Walsall, Redditch, Coventry, Rugby, Northampton, Cardiff, Worcester, Hereford, Rugeley, Wolverhampton, Stratford-upon-Avon, Leamington Spa and Stourbridge.

More than a dozen other individual trains linking Birmingham New Street with Crewe, Leicester, Stansted Airport and Nottingham were also affected.

Central Trains is one of the largest train operating companies in the UK.

No drivers means no Sunday trains
16 Dec 05 |  West Midlands
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10 Dec 05 |  Nottinghamshire
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07 Jan 05 |  Leicestershire

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