Shropshire Star

County MPs back new train service linking Shropshire to London

County MPs have thrown their weight behind plans for a new direct train service to London.

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County MPs have backed a fresh train service linking Shropshire to London

The plans for the five-times-a-day service come from Wrexham, Shropshire & Midlands Railway (WSMR), with hopes to start operating from as early as next year.

The Wrexham Conservative MP, Sarah Atherton, has written to the Transport Secretary Mark Harper, outlining support for the plans.

Her letter has been signed by all of the county's MPs – Lucy Allan, Philip Dunne, Daniel Kawczynski, Helen Morgan, and Mark Pritchard.

She said: "We ask that you work with the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) and the Department for Transport to ensure that this application is processed as quickly as possible so that our communities can benefit from these services and wider benefits as soon as possible."

The proposal was expected to have been submitted to the ORR yesterday.

If approved, it would reinstate Shropshire's direct link with the capital after it was announced last month that Avanti West Coast's daily train from Shrewsbury would be stopping in June.

After leaving Wrexham, WMSR trains would stop at Gobowen, Shrewsbury, Telford Central, Wolverhampton, Darlaston (once the station has opened), Walsall, Coleshill Parkway, Nuneaton and Milton Keynes on their way to London Euston.

Five trains each way from Monday to Saturday are proposed, reducing to four on Sundays.

Mr Dunne, MP for Ludlow, said he hoped the proposal would be approved quickly.

He said: "As a regular rail commuter between Shropshire and London, the more options for services from Shrewsbury to London the better.

"Wrexham, Shropshire and Midlands Railway have put forward a well-considered plan to deliver return rail services through Shropshire five times a day to London, as well as enhancing passenger facilities, quality, and accessibility for all at the stations it will serve.

"Residents in South Shropshire mostly lack a direct service to London, but will be better served if these plans get the go-ahead, so I was pleased to join calls to urge the Department for Transport to approve them quickly, so passengers start to see benefits as soon as possible.”

But there have been calls for additions to the proposals – with Wellington currently missed out of the stops included.

Wrekin MP Mr Pritchard said: "The WSMR proposals would see trains call at Shrewsbury and Telford Central stations, but not at the well-used Wellington Station in my constituency of The Wrekin. As a result, the new services would not be easily accessible to my constituents.

“Now that WSMR has formally submitted its application to the Office of Rail and Road, I am calling for the busy and growing market town of Wellington to be included on the WSMR network. These proposals will not have my full support unless that is agreed, as was the case with the previous direct rail link to London.”