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Engineering work misery for Christmas commuters

Passengers are set for difficult journeys over Christmas Credit: ITV Central

Some journeys for people travelling over christmas are set to be difficult with major engineering work on the West Coast Main Line. There will be no direct services from Euston station in London to Birmingham on December 23 and 24.

Union members at CrossCountry Trains, which runs through Coventry, Birmingham and Wolverhampton, were due to go on strike on Friday over an alleged breakdown of industrial relations but this has been canceled.

Commuters give views on West Coast Mainline fiasco

The Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced Virgin are to operate the West Coast Mainline until November 2014.

Virgin had been set to lose the West Coast contract which it has been operating since 1997 but the Government scrapped the bidding after faults by the Department for Transport were found with the bidding process.

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Train experts discuss the future of the Midlands' railways

London Midlands train Credit: ITV Central

On the day that dozens of London Midland train services have been cancelled or altered due to driver shortages, rail commentators have met in Birmingham to discuss the state of the region's railways.

The organisers of the conference, Railfuture, have said that they sympathise with London Midland's situation.

John Balmforth, West Midlands Branch Chairman of Railfuture, said: "If a driver can leave to work for another company... it's very attractive. That then leaves London Midland having to replace that driver and you can't just pluck somebody off the streets to do it."

The conference took place at the Church Centre on Carrs Lane, in Birmingham City Centre.

West Coast Mainline latest

Richard Branson
Richard Branson Credit: PA

Richard Branson had his chance to speak out today at a Commons Transport Committee meeting.

The Virgin boss criticised the rail franchise system as "flawed", claiming that The Department for Transport did not follow its own rules over the bidding process.

He was giving evidence after Virgin Trains launched a judicial review of the DfT's decision to award a new 13-year West Coast franchise to rival transport company FirstGroup. Virgin has run the West Coast line since 1997.

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