No reversing train changes for Shropshire

A local commuter train through Shropshire will be taken off the timetable next month despite a government minister's intervention.

Transport For Wales Train at Shrewsbury Train Station
Transport For Wales Train at Shrewsbury Train Station

Transport for Wales says there is nothing it can do to restore the stopping train that got into Shrewsbury from Ludlow at 9.25am and went onto Chester.

But it said today that it would explore local concerns as a matter of priority to see if it could find a workable solution.

The train company which runs trains across Wales and the Borders is bringing in an express, Cardiff to Holyhead train leaving Cardiff every morning and only stopping at a small number of stations which don't include Craven Arms, Church Stretton, Chirk and Gobowen.

Almost 2,000 people have signed a petition urging Transport for Wales to reverse the decision and North Shropshire MP, Owen Paterson sought help from Transport Minister, Grant Shapps.

He replied saying he believed that the changes constitute a reduction in the number of services beneath those set out in the operator's Train Service Requirement.

Transport for Wales said today that there would be visible improvements across the Wales and Borders network in the coming years.

These improvements will include additional services every weekend for Craven Arms, Church Stretton, Chirk and Gobowen, from December 2022, the company said.

A spokesman said: "This December, we have made a commitment to introduce a Cardiff-Holyhead service departing from Cardiff Central early each weekday morning with a total journey time of under 4 hours 30 minutes, using modern, more comfortable trains. This express service involves retiming an existing Cardiff-Holyhead service, as well as removing a number of station stops to allow for a much faster journey.

"As a result, we have been unable to accommodate the stops at Craven Arms, Church Stretton, Chirk and Gobowen for this service from the December timetable change, due to the impact it would have on other existing services in the area at that time. Similarly, we are unable to create an additional train service to ‘fill’ the gaps at these stations.

"Understandably, this has caused disappointment amongst some stakeholders and passengers and we want to collaborate with these groups to review the situation, take feedback and listen to concerns. We are aiming to set up a workshop to discuss with stakeholders in the coming weeks and we will continue to explore these concerns with our Train Planning team in the meantime to attempt to find a workable solution. We are committed to keeping our timetables under review and are looking at this particular matter as a priority."

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