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 delays in Redditch during the rush hours last night and this morning which left commuters struggling to get to and from Birmingham.
Slippery surfaces on the rail tack between 7.55am and 10.30am this morning led to delays of up to 22 minutes for services travelling between Redditch Station and the Second City.
The 9.32am train and the 9.55am trains were both cancelled.
A signalling fault on the Cross City Line last night left local travellers stranded, with several cancellations returning to Redditch from Birmingham New Street occurring between 3pm and 7pm.
One Twitter user voiced their concerns, saying: “Can you please sort out your trains between Redditch and New Street?
“I can’t remember a week where there wasn’t a problem.
“You’ve upped your prices recently yet you’re service is getting worse!
“Cancelled trains and services are becoming a far too regular occurrence.”
Another added: “The people of Redditch would like a express train to Birmingham.”
A spokesperson for West Midlands Railway put the problems down to ‘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 Redditch 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, 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.