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Scrapped trains could be reinstated, says MP Owen Paterson

By Aimee Jones | Chirk | News | Published:

Trains running through Shropshire which were scrapped and replaced with buses could be reinstated next year, according to the MP for North Shropshire.

Owen Paterson is pressing for a meeting with the Welsh Government after receiving a "strong hint" that the affected service could be reinstated in May.

A new timetable came into effect on Monday and saw the introduction of a Transport for Wales (TfW) express service between Cardiff and Holyhead.

To achieve the journey in four-and-a-half hours, the train now only stops at key stations along the route, including Ludlow, Shrewsbury and Wrexham, but not the smaller stations in between.

A stopping train has been taken out of service to facilitate the express train; a move which has angered passengers travelling to and from the smaller stations affected, including Craven Arms, Church Stretton, Gobowen, Chirk and Ruabon.

To mitigate the impact on rural passengers, TfW announced a rail replacement bus to and from Shrewsbury.

Permanent

Passenger groups expressed their anger at the move, saying it discriminates against cyclists, wheelchair users and people with prams and pushchairs, who may not be able to use a bus as easily.

Mr Paterson has been in contact with the Welsh Government over the changes and hopes a permanent solution will be reached in the coming months.

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He said: "I am actively pushing for a meeting, along with MP Simon Baynes, with the Welsh Government after I had quite a strong hint that the service could be reinstated.

"This is what we want to see and what we will be pressing for. It's quite unacceptable to reduce services and replace it with a bus. It is in breach of their obligations."

A letter from Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Lee Waters, to Mr Paterson said the bus replacement is a short-term measure.

Mr Waters said: "Since announcing the timetable, TfW have listened to these concerns and have sought to find a solution. As a short-term measure, they will provide coach services between Shrewsbury and Wrexham.

"TfW will seek a rail solution in the May timetable and will continue to review the timetable with rail planners."

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering Shrewsbury, North Shropshire and South Shropshire.

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