A train company has apologised to furious commuters caught up in delays on the railway this week.

There have been numerous cancellations on London Northwestern Railway (LNR) services this week, and this follows months of on-and-off disruption ever since a new timetable was introduced in May this year.

Travellers up and down the country have been affected including commuters from Watford, Bushey, and Kings Langley – but this week, it appears to have hit breaking point.

This evening the problems continue with a half-hourly service running at the moment from Euston due to a power cut at Northampton.

Watford Observer:

Stranded passengers at Euston. Credit: Martin Lowry

LNR’s Twitter team have been inundated with messages from stranded passengers on platforms up and down the line. It got so bad, the social media team said it was unlikely to be able to respond to everyone.

This week, there has been a shortage of train crew. Drivers and guards not been at work this week due to terms and conditions in existing contracts regarding the number of staff able to take leave simultaneously.

LNR says this issue tends to arise, as it does for all train operators, during holiday periods such as half-term.

LNR has strongly denied claims that train guards have not been at work because the company is planning to make the roles redundant. Instead, the company says an extra 200 train crew have been recruited in preparation for the May 2019 timetable, with a further 80 crew on the way too.

Trespassers, broken down trains, and power cuts have also all contributed to the delays on the line in the past few days.

But the problems have not just been compounded to this week.

Colin Devereux, who travels to and from Kings Langley, said: "The service is absolutely shambolic. For me, I find it increasingly difficult to unwind in the evenings when sometimes you are having to take alternative routes home.

"Late or cancelled trains in the mornings cause me problems with work. Especially when I am asked to attend early client meetings - you just can't be sure of making it. This last week has been appalling, completely unreliable."

Susan Gray, who also travels from Kings Langley, added: "It's been bedlam. Chaotic and no staff. An absolute shambles. This week has been much worse in particular."

There is light at the end of the tunnel for commuters with four promised new trains coming in December and a further six in 2020, which will help increase capacity. The ten new trains were meant to come in May but this has been delayed.

In a statement on Tuesday night, Francis Thomas, head of corporate affairs at West Midlands Trains, said: "We wholeheartedly apologise to our passengers who have been caught up in disruption this week and whose journeys have not been as good as they should have been.

"The timetable we were required to introduce in May 2019 did bring many benefits and has allowed us to carry 150,000 more passengers across our network.

"Unfortunately the timetable also brought in a layer of complexity. This has meant that when something goes wrong on the network, the knock-on effects are more significant and the disruption caused is greater than it would previously have been. This is what has been happening this week.

"We fully acknowledge this timetable is not working as it should be. We are taking steps to fix it as quickly as we can by reducing this level of complexity at the next timetable change in December.

"Some of this week's problems have been caused by shortage of available train crew and we are doing all we can to mitigate this. We have been deploying driver managers and managers with conductor compentency to cover gaps wherever possible and we are continuing to work on solutions.

"We are working extremely hard to improve our current performance but while this process continues we offer our sincere apologies to passengers who have experienced issues with their journeys."

Any passenger whose journey has been delayed by more than 15 minutes is urged to claim compensation via the Delay Repay scheme at wmr.uk/delayrepay (West Midlands Railway) or lnr.uk/delayrepay (London Northwestern Railway)