PRIME Minister Boris Johnson has warned West Midlands Railway (WMR) could lose its franchise amid complaints its performance has been “absolutely woeful.”

And a campaigner has welcomed the news saying action needs to be taken.

Following a question posed during Prime Minister’s Questions by West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin, Mr Johnson said: “The bell is tolling for WMR if I hear my honourable friend correctly.”

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Mrs Baldwin had asked the PM if he could arrange an inspection from the secretary of state for transport. The MP asked: “In recent months the performance of WMR for my constituents and for constituents across the region has been absolutely woeful. Will he agree with Andy Street, the West Midlands mayor, that if they do not shape up by the end of January they too should have an inspection by the secretary of state for transport and potentially have their franchise taken away?”

West Midlands mayor Andy Street had demanded West Midlands Trains (WMT) be stripped of its franchise unless services rapidly improve.

Jo Martyr, who has spoken out about problems with trains, said people would be seeing better services in this week, after the cancellations at the end of the year.

Mrs Martyr, from St John's, said: “Speaking to people in the rail industry, and WMT workers, I understand services were stretched, as crews were asked to work overtime and they refused. Now we are in a new year and people want the money, and they will work overtime. It has been OK the last few days. It is a reminder what it should be like all the time, and what it used to be like before - but it wont stay like this long term. I know people who have had to quit jobs, as they would get stuck after being dumped in places on the commute. The trains were unreliable. It became unworkable for them.”

Jan Chaudry Van der Velde, WMR’s managing director, said: “We recognise that the May timetable has not worked and apologise to all our passengers who have been affected. We brought in extra carriages and made changes to the timetable to improve capacity and performance. Unfortunately, in that short period, we also experienced many incidents outside our control.”