STRIKES which hit train services from Hereford and Ledbury to Birmingham on Saturdays in the run up to Christmas have been suspended.

After several weeks of negotiation between West Midlands Trains and the RMT union, an improved offer has been put forward covering the role of conductors on the new trains.

There had been concerns over safety if the company, which operates services between Hereford and Birmingham New Street, had introduced driver-only operated trains.

The offer will now be subject to a workforce referendum, and in the mean time, the remaining strikes have been suspended.

There still won't be a direct service between the two cities on Saturday as the agreement has come too late to withdraw the amended timetable.

A West Midlands Trains' spokesperson said: "Both sides have worked hard on our shared vision to keep a conductor on every passenger train with safety critical duties."

RMT union general secretary Mick Cash said solidarity between members led to the strikes being called off.

"Due to the receipt of an improved offer on the future role of the guard on West Midlands Trains all action, including this Saturday, has been suspended and we will be holding a referendum vote with a recommendation to accept the deal," he said.

"I want to pay tribute to the RMT members whose resilience and solidarity has got us to the point where we can suspend action with those same members having the final say."

The first strike was held on November 16 and were expected to continue every Saturday until the new year.

Commuters wishing to travel to Birmingham have been able to travel via Shrewsbury.