London Midland cancelled 7,500 trains in one year

Union bosses have called on the Government to renationalise London Midland after the train company was handed a notice to improve following more than 7,500 train cancellations in one year.

In a statement yesterday, Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis confirmed the company, which provides commuter services from Northampton to London and Birmingham, had been handed a remedial notice for "exceeding the franchise agreement threshold on cancellations".

Following his comments, rail union RMT have demanded the Government renationalise the company which, according to their figures, cancelled 7,558 services in 2008/2009 in the second worst performance on the network.

Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, said: "The privatisation of the railways is collapsing around the Government's ears and the time has come to draw a line under the franchise disaster and get all these services back under public control where they belong.

"London Midland sucked up a 114.2 million subsidy from the taxpayer in 2008/2009 and yet, despite that massive bung from the public purse, their performance has been a disgrace.

"The news of the wholesale failure of London Midland will be another nail in the coffin of the rail privatisation disaster."

But Shaun Hope, of the Northampton Rail Users Group, disagreed, saying renationalisation was not guaranteed to solve the problems.

He said: "I don't necessarily think renationalisation of London Midland will lead to an overnight improvement in the service because there are too many other factors at work.

"They have been affected by difficulties with tracks and signalling due to the upgrade of the West Coast Main Line and have had difficulty competing with the other independent supplier, Virgin, to get suitable 'windows' to operate services on the fast lines.

"I don't think it's entirely their fault and I don't think renationalisation will have any effect."

A statement from London Midland confirmed the company would be making more than 4 million of extra investment in its services, increasing the number of low cost fares available and undertaking a number of actions to improve its performance.

It said a detailed plan was being developed with the Department for Transport and confirmed the company's commitment to continuing to improve performance, which it said had improved.