New Faces to improve Ticket Office service & New Displays to help passengers along the Shakespeare Line.

Train Operator West Midlands Trains (WMT) has responded to various points raised by the Shakespeare Line Rail Users Group via SLRUG’s Chair, Peter Morris.

In their response, Cara Higgs, WMT’s Community Strategy Manager, has said that WMT “expects to see some new faces at stations between Birmingham Snow Hill and Stratford Upon Avon from June 2024 and will continue to recruit until the end of the year.”

Work is also taking place with the installation of new Train Service Indicator Displays along the line and a significant investment in new interactive Help Points at each station; SLRUG welcomes both.

SLRUG has also asked WMT to address a specific issue with the forthcoming new Train Information Display Boards concerning the current display at Stratford up[on Avon’s Railway Station. The current board on Platform One, which is the only way to access the whole station, regularly confuses passengers as it does not show the trains departing from Stratford upon Avon from Platforms Two and Three. If a train is at Platform One, passengers cannot easily see Platforms Two or Three and are often unaware that the service they wish to catch may be at either Platform Two or Three.

Peter Morris says, “We need to sort this issue out with a new train information display on Platform One that shows all departures from all platforms because too many people are either missing their train or boarding the wrong train and ending up in the wrong place. I am pleased that WMT is committed to resolving this as soon as possible.”

For more details, see WMT’s complete response below.

Dear Peter

I hope you are well.

Charlotte has asked me to respond on her behalf, for ease I have provided a dual response to the emails below:

  • Cancellations on 11 February
  • The Continuing Saga of Faulty CIS’s – and The Decline in Confidence of WMT ‘Customers’!

Cancellations on 11 February

1)Perhaps you could give me some details of the timeline to operability and extent of the CCTV project?

 The CCTV project is making good process with four stations completed (Moor St, Small Heath, Tyseley and Spring Rd)  we have contractors on site for a further four and are aiming to complete the works on the remainder of the stations within the scope during Oct. Three stations Henley, Stratford Parkway and Stratford are worth mentioning separately. Henley was not in the scope of the project and whilst both Stratford Stations will receive the new Digital Customer Information Screens, like Henley are not in the CCTV programme.

2)How is staff recruitment going on, both yours for Stratford staff and for the NR response team covering track-work emergencies in the Worcester area?

Our first batch of recruitment has been successful, with a significant number of applications for ticket office roles. Successful candidates will now begin the journey through various levels of testing which include online assessments and video interviews before we begin face to face interviews in the next 4-6 weeks. The lack of recruitment across the industry over the past few years, has led to a larger than usual vacancy gap across a number of stations. We are therefore having to carefully select the stations in order of need across the network.

Additional to the recruitment rollout we have found it necessary review the existing training programme and bring it up to date to ensure we meet the needs of the modern-day rail user; a lot has changed since COVID including how we provide customer service to our passengers and how we train new entrants. Therefore, the number of attendees for our induction and training programmes have been reduced to ensure we can provide a safe training environment, with additional courses to ensure we offer the best possible customer service for our passengers.

 We would expect to see some new faces at station between Snow Hill and Stratford Upon Avon from June 2024 and will continue to recruit until the end of the year.

3)With reference to CIS’s, have the departure platform information ‘glitches’ at Stratford station now been resolved? We’ve also been noticing countless problems with them all along the line – platform number errors ie direction of travel/passengers directed to the wrong side of the station etc, time clocks one hour out, CIS completely out of use etc etc. Is there an inclination to neglect their maintenance in the (internal) knowledge that ‘they’ll be going digital soon’ – to quote one of the repair team members fixing the old screen at Whitlocks End recently?

I was advised by the passenger information team, that they were really disappointed to hear of the issues you describe, would like to reassure you of the level of work that has gone into ensuring platform information is now correct and that If and when we they receive reports of incorrect information, they will take action to resolve these as quickly as possible.

We do and will continue where necessary to rectify faults with the older style screens, as and when the information is reported to us.  I would however add that the existing connectivity to these assets is driven by legacy telecom solutions which do therefore sometimes cause failure, which will be corrected by the Digital Customer Information Screen project and will add resilience to the operation of the DCIS once renewed.

4)On the subject of WTE, I noticed a new (touch?)screen on the platform with a ‘coming soon’ graphic on it – if it is a new help point, when will it be operational and are they to be rolled out to other stations between Moor St and Stratford?

There are to date seven stations with operational DCIS along the line, stations where customers will benefit most have been prioritised.  Moor St is planned in our second trench of works, which we hope to be installed towards the back end of the year as with the CCTV. rollout 

The Continuing Saga of Faulty CIS’s – and The Decline in Confidence of WMT ‘Customers’!

I have been advised this morning that the error you described has now been fixed and tested. New platform rules have been added to the system, in both directions which will ensure that information appears correctly and in a timely manner ahead of arrival.

Kind Regards


Cara Higgs (she/her)

Community Strategy Manager