CITY commuters have been squashed into smaller, older trains since a recent train timetable overhaul which was meant to improve train travel.

The major overhaul was heralded as a step towards better rail services and improved capacity but commuters say, instead, West Midlands Trains has 'reallocated' carriages away from city trains.

This means rush-hour services between Worcester and Birmingham are being run with fewer and older carriages - because more, newer carriages are needed for the operator's new, extra services elsewhere.

Commuter Jo Martyr, from Worcester, said: "Since they made the changes last weekend, I have noticed real problems.

"They have reduced the 7.50am service, a crucial morning service, from three carriages to two and it means that very often even if you can get on, there is very little chance of getting a seat.

"They have gone back to older rolling stock, which does not have air conditioning and which does not allow for wheelchairs because of only having single doors.

"Those peak time afternoon services can get hellishly unpleasant and hot and something needs to be done.

"I have seen people have panic attacks and seen elderly people crying because they cannot get off the train due to overcrowding.

"I have also seen people being shoved onto trains by staff to cram them in.

"A lot of the people I have spoken to have wondered if there is a legal limit on the number of people you can put on a train before it becomes dangerous.

"The official line is that across the network they have increased the number of coaches, but that isn't much consolation if you are from one of the areas where they have taken coaches away."

A spokesman for West Midlands Trains said new rolling stock, in increased numbers will be introduced from 2021, and that the company is taking into account passenger feedback.

But he added: “With the introduction of our new timetables, we have had to reallocate carriages across our network.

“This has resulted in changes to the formation of some services.

“Overall, we have increased the number of carriages across our network, which includes the introduction of a refurbished two-carriage train from London Overground to the Worcester lines.

“However, as part of implementing the biggest timetable change in 10 years, some services are now operating with fewer carriages, to allow for extra services or where trains are operating with more carriages.

“We are closely monitoring the impact of our timetables and the services that have been particularly impacted, including some peak time services that have been very busy to/from Worcester.

“Where we identify particular issues, we will work to see if anything can be done to resolve these.

“Managers will continue to be at locations across the network to gather passenger feedback about the changes, so we can assess the situation across the network as passengers adjust to the new timetable.

“When our fleets of new trains arrive on the network from 2021, we will be able to operate trains with more carriages, increasing capacity across the network by 25 per cent.”

Another rail user, John Smith, said of rail services in Worcester: “I used to commute every day from Cheltenham until I moved here and it was a nightmare at times.

“Sometimes it would be a two-carriage train and others it would be eight.

“There never seems to be much consistency in how the services are run.

“We don’t get value for money with our train services especially when you consider that the fares are always rising. At times I used to spend £200 a month on train fares.

“Some stations it is an absolute nightmare and others have no problems so it is strange.”

West Midlands Trains operates West Midlands Railway, with services via Birmingham New Street, and London Northwestern Railway, which runs trains between Liverpool and Birmingham and to and from London Euston.