Wales

Wrexham rail users criticise 'unacceptable' cut to hourly train services

Chirk railway station, near Wrexham Image copyright John Haynes
Image caption Fewer trains will call at Chirk station under a new timetable taking effect in December

Rail users in the Wrexham area claim timetable changes in December mean they will lose their hourly train service.

Passengers on the Chester-Shrewsbury line say they will face up to a two-hour wait at Chirk and Ruabon.

Nearly 600 people have so far signed a petition launched by a councillor branding the changes "unacceptable".

Transport for Wales (TfW) said cutting the number of stops meant a faster Cardiff-Holyhead service, but it added solutions were being sought.

As of December, trains on the line will only call at Chirk and Ruabon once every two hours.

Gobowen station, just over the border in Shropshire, will also see fewer trains stopping under the new timetable.

Councillor David A Bithell, Wrexham's cabinet member for transport and the man behind the petition, claimed the change was a backwards step and there had been no consultation with local authorities or rail users.

"These faster services will pass local stations without stopping," he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

"Train services are important to residents and the local economy given the Welsh Government's decision to declare a climate emergency.

"This line has increased passenger numbers at each of the stations year on year of up to 20% over the last five years and continues to grow."

A TfW spokesman said: "We have made a commitment to introduce a new Cardiff-Holyhead service departing from Cardiff Central with a total journey time of under four hours 30 minutes, using better trains to provide an improved service.

"To achieve this, we are not currently able to accommodate stops between Shrewsbury and Chester from the December timetable change, due to the impact on other existing services in the area at that time in the morning.

"However, we're investigating potential solutions."

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