Shropshire Star petition for direct rail link to London

Hundreds of people have already backed a campaign launched by the Shropshire Star to introduce a direct rail link between the county and London  

virgintrain

A petition has been set up, which will be delivered to officials in the capital who have blocked plans to set up services from Euston Station to Shrewsbury, Telford and Wellington.

To vote, click here.

Cross-party MPs in the county today backed the campaign, together with business leaders who say the link is vital for Shropshire’s future.

Virgin Trains wants to re-establish the services, but its plans have been vetoed by the Government’s Office of Rail Regulation.

Officials at the ORR have backed Network Rail’s stance that the West Coast Main Line cannot yet cope with extra services.

Today the Shropshire Star is calling for a solution to be found as soon as possible so that train passengers in the county get the train service they deserve.

An online petition was today set up and you can also have your say by sending your support by post.

Copies of the petition will be presented to officials from the ORR when they meet with county MPs about the issue of Shropshire’s rail link in September.

Shrewsbury & Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski has also pledged to present a formally-worded version of the petition to the House of Commons, urging the Department of Transport and the ORR to work with Network Rail and the train operators to ensure a regular and direct service from Shrewsbury to London is established as soon as possible.

The campaign has also won the cross-party support of other Shropshire MPs.

David Wright, Labour MP for Telford, said: “I’m delighted that the Shropshire Star is setting up this community campaign. I’m a strong supporter of the direct rail link between London and Shropshire and have been working with the other MP on this issue. It is great to have the Star on board.

“I hope we can show the ORR the strength of community feeling on this.”

Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin, added: “I’m delighted the Shropshire Star is getting behind the campaign to restore a direct rail link to London. MPs will be working with the Star to try and persuade the ORR to change their minds.

“I encourage all my constituents to support the campaign.”

Environment Secretary and North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson said he had been a long-standing campaigner for a direct service, dating back to the fight for the former Wrexham & Shropshire service.

“I strongly support any public move to put pressure on the relevant bodies to get Shropshire the direct rail link it deserves.”

Philip Dunne, Tory MP for Ludlow, today urged his constituents to get behind the campaign. “I’m very happy to support this and I long campaigned for improved rail links to Shropshire,” he said.

 

 

 

Comments for: "Shropshire Star petition for direct rail link to London"

Lynda Ballard

Direct link to London from a major town like Shrewsbury should be a must.

Fact Man

Shrewsbury isn't even in the top 50 biggest towns in the UK. It is not a 'major town', hasn't been for centuries.

Nick

A huge well done to the Shropshire Star for campaigning on this very important issue for county.

Ian MacLennan

I find it astonishing that the major county of Shropshire does not have a direct link to London, and the rail regulator needs to work with Virgin to make this happen. The West Coast Mainline is full, but surely there are options. Perhaps extend a Wolverhampton service (acknowledging that it would have to be a diesel service as the line to Shrewsbury is not electrified). Or re-route the Wrexham to London service that Virgin started to compete with the fabulous Wrexham and Shropshire service.

Richard

There is another option, electrify the line, it’s been talked about for years and many times its been close to being done but never had that final push to make it happen, Virgin could just be that final push to make it happen.

Roger

Hobson's choice. Where is the box to tick for a sustainable service on an alternate route.

Direct service to London Yes Virgin No Arriva/Chiltern Yes.

Bill

Absolutely right, Roger.

The way to get a service is lobby Arriva/Chiltern (Deutsche Bahn) to provide a service to either Marylebone or perhaps Paddington (via High Wycombe).

Remember also that as well as Chiltern, Arriva also owns the Cross Country franchise which has running rights throughout the West Midlands.

It could also see the reinstatement of the Cambrian Coast Express of BR days, with the early morning departure from London running through to Aberystwyth or even Pwhelli, returning to form the evening service from Shrewsbury to London. The morning 'up' train from Shrewsbury to London would then do two more 'round trips', meaning four services each way every weekday.

I'm pretty sure the Welsh Assembly would pressure for the through service and perhaps even subsidise it beyond Shrewsbury, although the trains would need to have ERTMS signalling fitted.

Doubter

Keep dreaming, it will run twice a day make a loss as it wont be used as has been the case in the past, loss = no profit = no service.

Ian Bee

Whilst I am sure that a direct rail link from Shropshire to London will be beneficial to the county in some small way, who can afford to travel by train anymore? Currently, an 'anytime return' for Shrewsbury to London is £204.00 !! Also, it was abundantly clear from the old W&S operation that passenger numbers from the county alone cannot support a dedicated service to London in their own right. It is my opinion that this would ultimately be of benefit to a very small number of business users and this would suggest that, as the only UK county without a direct link to 'the smoke', vanity is a major element of this campaign. How hard is it to change trains anyway?

The current situation makes Shropshire unique in the UK. Perhaps we should be glad that we are not like all those other counties who are beholden to the capital.

Luke Davies

This should be a MUST! But they also should fix the signals at the same time aswell

Bill

Luke, you are very right.

Unfortunately the signal spacing south of Rugby is mostly still as per the 1970s 'modernisation' when the wires went up and speeds were only 90mph with perhaps 6 fast trains per hour - where now there are at least a dozen even in the off-peak.

To maintain the 'three signal sections safety separation' uses up to 50% more track distance than will be the case on the GWR lines out of Paddington when they are electrified and re-signalled over the next couple of years. So the number of trains is restricted and the slightest delay for any service soon 'knocks on' to everything behind it.

Chappy Shopper

The main benefit to a direct rail link I can think of would be that I'd not have to spend any more time in New Street Station, (although the facelift there is a real improvement). More to the point people in London should be campaigning for a direct link to Shropshire, as they come to their senses and realise paying a fortune for a small flat in an overcrowded, overpriced, polluted, crime-ridden sump full of dreadful people is madness!

Walker

Better things to spend the money on. This will not be a low price service for us ordinary mortals. HS2 will run the coffers dry anyway.

confused???

What we do is catch a train to Wolverhampton or Birmingham and then change onto our train of choice - Virgin or Arriva/Chiltern.

If we catch a train to Wolverhampton we just have to change platforms....now that's not difficult is it?

Economics have proved that a direct link from Shrewsbury to London is not needed.

I travel to London 2-3 times a month and usually drive to Wolverhampton and catch the Virgin train.

Its not like we can't get to London from Shropshire without a direct link, we have loads of choices.........................

Richard

I usually drive to Wolverhampton or Crewe too, not because it’s the better option but rather that the train service between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton is pathetic, I am sick and tired of the train service not running on time, the excuses range from drivers starting the service late because they were on a break or simply that the train is full and I cannot get on. That’s right I remember many times getting the train from Telford where I work to then make my way to London, many trains would come and go with the train manager of each opening one set of doors at a time saying that they would let people off but would not let more than 1 or 2 new passengers back on to the train for H&S reasons, I’m surprised they don’t take a leaf from Japan’s book and hire people to push us on like cattle. Things have not improved much as I was on the same train only last week, had to stand the entire way like on a tube train in London’s rush hour. Hardly a surprise, I can’t see how Arriva expect time after time to fit a full platform of people (designed for the old intercity trains) to fit in 2 already full carriages, it happens every day yet they act surprised every time, now I am confused? So to answer your question, yes it is difficult to change at Wolverhampton because you have to get the train their first, or do as you and I now do and just drive there instead. We need a train with many more carriages just to take us between Shrewsbury & Wolverhampton/Birmingham let alone London and Virgin Trains could cater for both types of traveller with just 1 train. If there isn’t enough capacity then cancel some of the Arriva trains instead, I’m sure all passengers would be pleased to not only have a choice of carriage to get onto but also have the unusual option of having a seat too. I am in full support of the idea, no more waiting in the rain and snow for the third or fourth train which might have capacity for me to squeeze on.

Tom

Just extend one of the Wolverhampton services per hour to Shrewsbury - Virgin have nice new efficient diesels that can do it no problem

Tony in BC

Oh dear... two hundred pounds to get to London. Back when I left Shrewsbury on vacation (albeit a long time ago) the return ticket to Vorarlberg in Austria was fourteen pounds. Today in BC my ticket to the "big smoke" (about 500k) is roughly 40 pounds.

Go figure!

Slope

The West Coast main line runs quite close to Shropshire and for business travel speed and convenience are important. If you live in Telford, Newport or Market Drayton it's quicker to drive to Stafford and pick up the Pendolino from there. From Bridgnorth it's quicker to drive to Wolverhampton. From Whitchurch it's quicker to drive to Crewe. That's accounts for around 55% of Shropshire's population, so the demand for a direct service is going to have to be met by the other 45%.

Peter

If Shrewsbury is not to remain a backwater restoration of this link is vital and must go ahead.

Mr H Christmas & Mrs I E Christmas & Mr B Christmas

Direct link is preferable to changing at Birmingham. Having to cart cases between platforms. The old Wrexham,Shropshire train to Paddington was marvellous.

Shirley Roberts

I would like to see a direct link to London on the Euston line as I travel to M.K. regularly and as an OAP I hate changing at Birmingham. It is time the line from Wolverhampton is electrified. As a youngster I could board a train at Gobowen and sit there until I reached London (Paddington) We seem to be going backwards. Shrewsbury is an important County Town.

Mr David Richards

Why don't Virgin run a couple of the Chester to Euston services via Wrexham and Shrewsbury of which would not increase the load on the network.

Mrs Karen Ellis

It would be great to have a rail link to run through Telford to London, I would definately use this service and would visit London more often.

mick

it`s about time Shropshire/ telford had a direct rail link

margaret

I go to London regularly and it would save me keep going to Wolverhampton or Stafford I think it`s a great idea and about time to have a reliable company and service I would even go more often as I love london

Steven

It is just not going to happen, as a former Railway employee I have seen this all before, we had a service, you didn't use it enough and we lost it, you campaigned and petitioned and got it back, you didn't use it enough again and so you lost it again.

There are insufficient numbers of people in Shrewsbury who are prepared to use it on a regular basis, and no company will be prepared to run a service at a loss.

Sorry to be so negative but if the service returns, it will be lost again due to lack of use, and lets face it, long distance rail travel these days is for those with money, not the average person on the street.

If ticket prices are reduced to an affordable level, people might just be tempted back.