WEST MIDLANDS Railway has told The Standard a Network Rail ‘leaf treatment’ train which was supposed to clean the rails overnight between Wednesday and Thursday failed.
A spokesperson for the operator said: “While we are working closely as an industry to maintain rail conditions over the autumn period, one the Network Rail leaf treatment trains unfortunately failed overnight, which has impacted their ability to treat the rails in the Birmingham area.
“This has led to slippery rail conditions and delays to some of our services today.
“Another treatment train is being sent to the area to help alleviate the issues we have experienced.
“We would advise passengers to check their train times at westmidlandsrailway.co.uk.”
It follows problems on the Cross City Line between Bromsgrove and Birmingham New Street on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
This morning (Thursday) the 7.42am train from Bromsgrove was 13 minutes late when it arrived in Birmingham, the 8am service was delayed by 16 minuted, the 8.12am was ten minutes late and the 8.31am was cancelled.
During last night’s rush hour there was a similar story with people working in Birmingham heading home.
The 4.33pm service from New Street was 39 minutes late and terminated at Longbridge, the 4.53pm was 23 minutes late when it arrived in Bromsgrove and the 5.20pm ended up 12 minutes late.
The 5.15pm was 14 minutes late when it reached the town and the 5.53pm was cancelled before it even left New Street.
A spokesperson for West Midlands Railway said the problems had been caused by ‘challenging weather conditions’.
“Our priority is to operate a safely, so some alterations have been made to ensure we can run as many services as possible.”
She added on Wednesday evening the problems were compounded by a broken down train at Five Ways which meant no trains could operate between Birmingham New Street and Bromsgrove from 2.30pm to 4pm.
“Once services resumed, it took a number of hours for a full timetable to operate as normal.”
Rail replacement buses operated between Longbridge and Redditch / Bromsgrove, with tickets being accepted on NXWM local buses.
She urged anyone delayed by 15 minutes or more to claim through the West Midlands Railway Delay Repay scheme.