Shropshire has won back its direct rail link to London, a move likely to boost the organising of major events at the Telford International Centre (TIC) and other venues in the region.
The Government’s Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) revealed 13 November, that, after meetings between Network Rail and Virgin, off peak services will start in May 2014.
The announcement was greeted locally as a victory for more than 3,000 people who signed a petition backed by MPs, politicians of all parties and business leaders in the county. Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski had raised the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions.
The ORR said it “recognises the importance of direct rail services”.
Tom Gray, Chief Executive Officer of the Southwater Event Group, owners of the TIC, told CN: “We welcome this initial confirmation of direct train routes from London to Telford from May 2014. As a Midlands-based venue, easy to reach by road, this will improve our national transport connectivity and will certainly appeal to our clients and prospective clients considering the TIC in the future.”
Trains will travel between London’s Euston Station and Shrewsbury, with stops expected at Telford and Wellington.
Virgin Trains had submitted a renewed bid to run the twice-daily service last week after previously having plans rejected by Network Rail.
The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) said the two sides had agreed to run an off-peak service Monday to Friday, with one direct train timetabled for Sunday.The Department for Transport is to investigate further whether a “solution to providing further services” can be found, including peak services.
“All of our hard work has paid off. This has been my number one priority over last 12 months,” said Kawczynski.
Shrewsbury had been the only county town in England not to have a direct rail link to London and a previous attempt to link Telford to a regular direct London service foundered.
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