'No demand': Anger at MP Lucy Allan's 'little Shropshire villages' claim over Telford train services
MP Lucy Allan has sparked an angry response after suggesting there "is no demand at all" for trains to stop off at small villages between Birmingham and Telford.
Ms Allan made the comments while asking the government to increase the number of carriages on the line.
She also called for there to be one fast train an hour, missing out the Shropshire villages.
However, there is already one train an hour running between Telford an Birmingham that does not stop at Shifnal, Cosford, Albrighton, Codsall, or Bilbrook.
Figures show that the five stations accounted for 602,952 entries and exits from passengers during 2016/17.
Speaking in Parliament Ms Allan said: "We need more carriages. We need at least one fast train per hour, missing out those little Shropshire villages, for which there is no demand at all – I never see anyone getting on and off at these little stops between Telford and Birmingham.
"We also need sensible spacing of trains running in any one hour, to avoid lengthy periods between trains. It seems almost thoughtless to have two trains an hour running with a very short space between them."
Councillor Kevin Turley, who represents Shifnal, said rail links were a vital selling point for the town.
He said: "Shifnal is a really busy station. There are a lot of people who have said that the service has been a key reason for setting up developments in Shifnal.
"People do not want to drive to Telford to jump on a train from there. I do not know where she is coming from.
"It is a key selling point for developers coming to Shifnal, its rail links, motorway links. To take away something like that would be a joke."
Toby Lardner, landlord at Codsall Station public house, said that more trains and carriages are needed rather than fewer.
He said: "Our trains from 4pm are absolutely full here, we actually need more carriages to be honest.
"Some days they only put one carriage on and if there is a big event going on it is absolutely chock-a-block."
Michelle Smith from Albrighton said the smaller stops are vital to allow people to get to work.
She said: "I have used the train to work in Birmingham a couple of years ago and they were overcrowded but there were people getting off at the smaller stations along the way. It is good to have the faster train but you need the stops at the smaller stations for people to be able to get to work."
During her parliamentary comments Ms Allen said that Telford's development was being held back by rail links, and that people going on nights out to Birmingham often faced a sluggish journey home stopping at "every Shropshire village".
She said: "We are not just some sleepy county town on the way to Wales. We are a centre of innovation, enterprise and growth, but without the ability to easily get to Birmingham, we are cut off and it is holding us back."
She added: "Another aspect that I have not mentioned is trying to get back from Birmingham after a night out. That in itself is a massive struggle that puts people off going to Birmingham for the evening at all, because if the preceding train has just gone, they can be stranded at New Street station for up to an hour. Once on the train, it is back to the sluggish chugging along, stopping at every Shropshire village, and so on. That is not the 21st century. We should be able to go to Birmingham and enjoy a night out without thinking of the ordeal of getting back home."