Thousands sign Shropshire to London rail link petition

Noticebaord The last train left Wrexham last month

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More than 7,000 people have signed a petition to get a direct rail link from Shropshire to London reinstated.

The final non-subsidised Wrexham to London train service departed last month after only restarting in April 2008 following a 41-year gap.

Wrexham, Shropshire, Marylebone Railway blamed a fall in passenger numbers.

Former passenger Alex Matthews is campaigning for a service from Shropshire to be reinstated as part of the subsidised government franchise.

Virgin Trains has said consultations were being held over the West Coast Rail franchise, which could operate in Shropshire.

'MPs on board'

Mr Matthews said 7,200 people have signed the petition which Conservative Shrewsbury and Atcham MP, Daniel Kawczynski, will take to a meeting with Transport Minister Theresa Villiers and other MPs on 10 March.

Mr Matthews said: "Virgin get £250m a year from the government because they are part of the franchise agreement which is why we're looking to get a direct line - Shropshire to London - to be part of that franchise agreement."

He added it would mean that line would be subsidised and supported by the government.

"There's enough pressure for that, we have MPs on board," he said.

"It may take a year... we hope within a year we have a new rail line starting up again."

On the same day the closure announcement was made on 28 January a Passenger Focus survey found the firm had the highest customer satisfaction rating.

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