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Extra train services linking Shropshire, Wolverhampton and Birmingham will begin in May

By Mark Andrews | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Extra rail services linking Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton and Birmingham will finally begin in May – five months after they were due to start.

West Midlands Trains are introducing new services from Shrewsbury to Birmingham

West Midlands Railway said that from May 19 it will be introducing an extra hourly service along the route, running from Shrewsbury to Birmingham New Street.

The extra services were due to have been launched in December last year.

But chaos surrounding the launch of a new timetable in the north of England last year led to the Rail Delivery Group, which oversees the UK rail services, postponing the changes.

Media relations manager for West Midlands Railway Rebecca Preece, said the extra services would mean that the company would now be running two trains an hour.

But she said where there were already two West Midlands services within the hour, the company would not be adding a third.

The new services will be in addition to those provided by Virgin Trains and Transport for Wales, meaning that most of the time there will be three trains an hour.

Mrs Pearce said the new services would run from Shrewsbury to Birmingham, calling at Wellington, Telford, Shifnal, Codsall and Wolverhampton.

"They will be quicker than the ones that stop at every station," she said.

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Mrs Preece added that some services would get extra carriages.

"The electrification of the Chase Line has freed up some extra carriages, which we will use to increase capacity where possible," she said.

West Midlands Railway, which took over the former London Midland franchise in 2017, said it was disappointed when the Rail Delivery Group asked it to delay the changes last year.

The Rail Delivery Group said timetables were routinely updated in May and December to allow for seasonal variations, as well to enable new services to be introduced.

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It said the changes introduced in May last year were the largest in recent history, and following the difficulties with implementation it was decided to adopt a more cautious approach.

Its chief executive Paul Plummer said to ensure a reliable service, some improvements would be delivered more slowly than originally planned.

Sir Peter Hendy, chairman of Network Rail, said: “The railway industry has taken a long hard look at its plans for the next timetable change in December and, taking into account recent painful lessons, the industry has scaled back its ambition and tempered it with a more cautious, phased approach to introducing the new timetable.

“The railway is too vital for the health and wealth of our country to risk a repeat of the mistakes of May and this more balanced approach of ambition and caution is absolutely the right thing to do for the millions who rely on our railway everyday.”

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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