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New rail link between Shropshire and London
Plans to run a direct train service from Shropshire to London have been backed by the rail regulator. The Wrexham Shropshire Marylebone Railway Company (WSMR) is hoping to run five trains per day to the capital from 2008.
After months of waiting, the rail regulator has backed plans to run a direct train service from Wrexham through to London, via Gobowen, Shrewsbury and Telford. The Wrexham, Shropshire and Marylebone Railway Company (WSMR) hope to operate up to five trains a day during the week (and a reduced service at weekends).
Journeys to Marylebone station are expected to take about three and a half hours from Shrewsbury and three hours eight minutes from Telford.
Shropshire is currently the only county without a direct line to London. People travelling from Shrewsbury, Wellington Telford and Cosford have to change, usually in Wolverhampton or Birmingham, before they arrive at London's Euston station.
WSMR submitted proposals to operate the new service in December 2006. Objections from other rail operators and fears of possible congestion delayed approval. However on 3 September 2007 the regulator declared the plans "good news" for passengers.
A direct service between Shrewsbury and London ran until 1992 (with a brief service in 1997), when it was cancelled due to a lack of demand.
WSMR and the Shropshire and Mid Wales Rail First Group believe there is a demand for the new service. Telford alone is expected to reach a population of 225,000 by 2026.
The company also believe that businesses could benefit from the new link. Telford International Centre might be one winner according to John Clayton of the Shropshire and Mid Wales Rail First group. He also suggested that business travellers would prefer the direct service to "standing on a draughty platform wondering whether you're going to make your meeting in the first place."
Speaking to BBC Radio Shropshire's Ian Perry, John Clayton believed that the proposed service was "a start" and hoped it would improve once established: "Ultimately we would like a more convenient service in terms of time, but frankly we're jolly pleased with them." Current services between Shrewsbury and London, while requiring one or more changes, often take less than three hours.
WSMR's proposed five trains a day would call at Wolverhampton, but many would prefer better links to Birmingham International airport and the NEC instead. In fact, not everyone sees the need for direct trains at all as they prefer to drive or avoid London altogether.
Let us know what you think about the proposed service.
last updated: 04/09/07
Have Your Say
What do you think? Is it just what the county needs or is it a waste of time and money?
mrs m. reynolds
Miss Gill Brown
Mr Mark Brown
MR R Webb