MPs call for Shrewsbury to London train services U-turn

A Virgin train Virgin Trains said it would appeal against Network Rail's decision

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A group of Shropshire MPs has called on the transport secretary to approve a direct train service from Shrewsbury to London.

Virgin Trains had a plan to run two services a day rejected by Network Rail in February over "punctuality" fears.

Conservative MP for Shrewsbury Daniel Kawczynski said he would urge Patrick McLoughlin to overturn the decision at a meeting next week.

Virgin has said it will appeal against Network Rail's decision.

Network Rail said adding more services on to the West Coast Main Line would "have a significant negative impact" on performance and punctuality for thousands of other services.

'Free up services'

Raising the issue in the House of Commons, Mr Kawczynski said: "We are the only county town in England without a train service to London.

"Virgin want to implement that service in December but unfortunately Network Rail want to prevent that from happening."

Mr Kawczynski said he would be meeting the transport secretary next Wednesday, with four other Shropshire MPs, to discuss the issue.

In response, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "We have to recognise there is a lot of congestion on our existing main lines and high speed rail will help free up services so we can have more direct connections."

The Department for Transport said there was "limited space for new services" on the West Coast Main Line but that Patrick McLoughlin was keen for the rail industry "to work together to secure additional connections to Blackpool and Shrewsbury".

The Wrexham, Shropshire and Marylebone Railway Company ended its rail link to London in January 2011, blaming a fall in passenger numbers.

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