Shropshire Star

Virgin Trains: Shropshire and London direct rail link has 'exceeded expectation'

Virgin Trains today said the direct rail link between Shropshire and London has "exceeded all expectation"– and said it was hopeful that it could be extended northwards.

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As the service marks its first anniversary, the train company said it had been delighted with passenger numbers.

And it said it was upbeat about the future as talks are held about a possible extension of the service.

The company has met with MPs from the region about the possibility of trains that current call at Telford, Wellington, and Shrewsbury also travelling to Gobowen, the station that serves the Oswestry area.

Virgin spokesman Richard Stanton said: "The response to our direct services between Shropshire and London has exceeded all expectations.

"It's been overwhelming, which is why we are more than happy to explore options with all interested parties.

"We want to build on this success, subject of course to a full evaluation of the challenges they present."

North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson revealed this week that moves for the extension had moved forward.

He will be heading up a meeting in Gobowen early in the New Year with Network Rail, Virgin, Arriva Trains Wales and other MPs and last week joined Welsh MPs Susan Elan Jones and Ian Lucas in meeting with Virgin Rail representatives.

Mr Paterson described the meeting as "extremely positive" and said Virgin bosses had told him there was "no reason why the trains could not be extended north and stop in Gobowen and Wrexham".

Mr Paterson said rail users in the north of the county often used alternative routes to the Shrewsbury to London line. Many prefer to drive to Crewe or use the Wem/Whitchurch to Crewe train to then change for London.

He said having a direct train from Gobowen would be a "wonderful asset to the area".

The meeting in the New Year will be held at Gobowen Railway Station on January 8.

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