As part of the re-franchising process, the Department for Transport (DfT) is looking at the feasibility of implementing a new Service Quality Regime (SQR) in the West Midlands area and in particular on the two branches including the Abbey Line. This would require audits to be undertaken by the new operator every railway ‘control period’ plus a mystery shopper, and reported on to ensure that stations and trains are being maintained and presented correctly and that customer service is responsive, positive and appropriate.

To understand if there is a business case to do this, and also provide data that bidders can price against, the DfT need to do an urgent baselining exercise to determine the current status quo of trains and station quality. For each area they are looking to survey a number of representative trains and stations, and to do this they are seeking help from Abbey Line users and supporters.

The survey is straightforward, with pass/fail criteria. Those who take part in station adoption will already recognise the format and many of the questions.

Also provided will be a letter of authority allowing you to travel for free on the Abbey Line whilst undertaking this duty.

DfT need all the surveys back by Sunday 24th April, so if you can help, please make yourself known to us at or call 07739 023316 for further details.

Taking part in this exercise is very much in the interests of Abbey Line users to ensure that the quality of the service is maintained and enhanced in years to come.