Pressure for direct Shrewsbury to London services to restart

A Virgin train
Image caption Virgin Trains wants London to Shrewsbury services to be operational by next May

The rail regulator has said it will "put pressure" on Network Rail to restart direct train services between Shrewsbury and London.

Virgin Trains submitted new plans to run the twice-daily service last month.

The plans had previously been rejected after Network Rail said the line could not cope with extra traffic.

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has now said it wants the rail operator to improve its performance so the service can be discussed "as soon as possible".

Shropshire has been without a direct rail link to London since 2011, when the Wrexham and Shropshire service ended.

The announcement follows a meeting on Monday between the ORR and a group of Shropshire MPs.

They presented a 3,800 signature petition, organised by the Shropshire Star newspaper, to the regulator.

ORR chairman Anna Walker said: "We recognise how important the issue is to people across the region.

"ORR is putting pressure on Network Rail both to improve its performance and to carry out improvements on the West Coast Main Line so that the question of new services from London to Shrewsbury can be looked at again as soon as possible."

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