MARCHES LEP WELCOMES DIRECT RAIL LINK FROM SHREWSBURY AND TELFORD TO LONDON FROM 2016
The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership today welcomed the announcement that a direct rail link to London from Telford and Shrewsbury would be restored by the winners of the West Coast rail service franchise, First Group.
The LEP has been working with the Shropshire, Telford and the Marches Rail Group to lobby for the restoration of the link throughout the tender process.
The business-led organisation, which is tasked with revitalising the economy of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford, had written to all four potential franchisees requesting the direct link be included in their bids.
Marches LEP Chairman Dr Geoffrey Davies OBE, had also raised the importance of a direct rail link to the capital with Communities Secretary Eric Pickles MP during a visit to Shropshire earlier this year.
He said: “We had met with First Group to share our concerns with the company on the unmet demand for a direct service from Shropshire to London and on the longer term aspirations for rail service provision in our area.
“We also pressed home the need for better connectivity, as the only county without a direct rail link, to Mr Pickles and was encouraged by his response Transport Minister Justine Greening MP had been asked to look into it.
“I'm delighted to see that First Group included this commitment for a direct link to London from Telford and Shrewsbury from 2016 in its winning bid, which will be a real boost not only for our visitor economy but also for the businesses which are based here.
“Good transport links are essential to ensure we can attract businesses which want to invest here and create the sustainable jobs which are so urgently needed.”
Shropshire has been without a direct rail link to London since the closure of the Wrexham & Shropshire service in January last year after owners DB Schenker made a £2.8million loss.
Although popular with its regular passengers, the Wrexham & Shropshire service was hampered by the fact it could not run through Birmingham, meaning the journey took about three hours.