COMMUTERS are gaining two extra carriages to reduce congestion on busy services between Worcester and Birmingham - but campaigners say they will "wait and see" if the changes work.

West Midlands Rail announced on October 29 that it has acquired two additional carriages to be added to key services running between Worcester and Birmingham at peak times.

Two additional carriages have been borrowed from sister company, East Midlands Railway, until mid-December.

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The aim is to get these trains on the route by the end of October to strengthen the 7.09am Hereford to New St and the 1.50pm and 4.20pm departures from Birmingham New Street to Hereford.

Jo Martyr, who regularly uses the trains between Worcester and Birmingham, has been calling for increased capacity for several months.

She said: “It is a bit of an improvement., but it is an odd selection of times.

“A better choice would have been that 7.48am from Worcester Foregate Street as that is a primary commuter service.

“I am not sure what effect the lunchtime service will have or who it really benefits.

“The 4.20pm service will make a difference, but the 3.49pm service would still be particularly unpleasant.”

She added: "If they add this coach (to the 7.09am), prevent others from breaking down almost daily and if they provide crews then we'll be back to London Midland-level poor standards that they inherited."

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The proposed changes are lasting until mid-December, at which point, West Midlands Rail say they will have additional electric trains allowing West Midlands Rail to reallocate their own diesel trains to support the Hereford-Worcester-New St line. The changes also include, from mid-November, all Hereford–New St Sunday services becoming five cars instead of three for the Christmas markets.

Mrs Martyr said the changes were “a fudge” adding: My question is why have they not added carriages to that 7.48am service which was five carriages and is now four?“They replaced that with ageing rolling stock and it seems to be breaking down on an almost daily basis. We will have to wait and see - if they don’t come good on what they have promised having said they will do this and they will do that, it will be vile at Christmas."

The new train carriages were secured with the help of local MPs Robin Walker and Harriett Baldwin, who attended a meeting with West Midlands Rail to discuss commuters’ concerns.

Worcester MP Mr Walker said: “Harriett and I met with West Midlands Railways at the House of Commons earlier this month and insisted that WMR scour the rail network for more carriages.

"It is a huge relief to know there will be extra carriages as soon as the end of this week, but I hope West Midlands Railways will realise Worcestershire commuters need a better service.”