Shropshire Star

From fanfare to letdown: History of Shrewsbury-to-London direct line

The direct rail line from Shrewsbury to London began with something of a fanfare in December 2014.

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Avanti West Coast will be discontinuing its direct service from Shrewsbury to London

Train operator Virgin agreed to set up the service after a major campaign in the town.

Shrewsbury had been without a direct link since a similar service, run by Wrexham & Shropshire Trains, ended in 2011.

After that, business and political leaders demanded action to bring back the service, saying it would boost tourism and the local economy.

A Virgin Trains service was approved by the Office of Rail Regulation in September 2014 and the first train set out from Shrewsbury at 15.24 GMT on a Sunday in mid-December, calling at Wellington, Telford Central, Wolverhampton, Birmingham New Street, Birmingham International, Coventry, Watford Junction and London Euston.

Speaking at the time, Richard Sheehan, chief executive of Shropshire's Chamber of Commerce, said it was "vitally important" for the county.

"We run many different events, from the flower show to many different festivals and we have very attractive towns. So there are lots of reasons why people would come here," he said.

As well as encouraging more tourism, Mr Sheehan said a direct rail service would make it easier to attract inward investment and persuade companies to relocate to Shropshire.

Rail bosses said the new service would not have been possible without the support of Shropshire Star readers.