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Direct Shrewsbury-London services confirmed

Direct services from Shrewsbury to London will be restored from May, the ORR has said, despite earlier rejections of Virgin’s applications.

Shrewsbury lost its direct services to the capital when the Wrexham & Shropshire open access service folded in early 2011. It has been years since Shrewsbury passengers had a direct, fast link to London via the WCML, as Virgin is now planning.

A twice-daily off-peak service Monday to Friday is not as radical a change as some local campaigners hoped, however.

Virgin Trains submitted a third bid to run the service last week, following rejections by the ORR on the grounds that the line is already too busy. The exact times of the new services will be revealed tomorrow and will also include a single direct service on Sundays.

Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski told the Shropshire Star: “All of our hard work has paid off. This has been my number one priority over last 12 months as it is vital for Shrewsbury’s prosperity and my plans to help Shrewsbury business to export.”

A spokesperson for Virgin Trains said: “Virgin Trains is still in discussions with Network Rail and the Department for Transport about running services to Shrewsbury and no formal timetable offer has yet been made.

“We have made clear our intentions to run direct services to Shrewsbury and look forward to a positive outcome soon.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at

Image c. Christopher, reproduced under a Creative Commons licence. 


Ricp   15/11/2013 at 01:50

The lack of through services from Shrewsbury to London is one of the perpetual post Beeching and then post Privatisation Cock-Ups. The virtual abandonment of the Great Western Main Line through Birmingham was the post Beeching BR and a Labour Government's folly, and the complexities of privatisation created a business structure that made the operation of the Shrewsbury service that much more difficult, compared with the 1960s when there were about 10 through trains per day, but after 1967 there were only about two, with engine changes etc. So when Branson Rail went for the Pendolini package, the loco hauled option for the non-electric bit became problematical. So indifferent managres just gave up, when a better option would have been to retain a few class 90 electric locomotives and a few rakes of Mk3 coaches; a lack of lateral thinking. Compare and contrast with the initiatives taken by Chiltern Railways. If the track north of Snow Hill were not a tramway, the solution would have emerged years ago.

Brian   15/11/2013 at 12:41

I'm not sure the idea of an off peak service will prove to be very popular. My understanding was the service was wanted primarily by business. Those passengers will still need to connect into the London services at Wolverhampton or Birmingham. It rather defeats the object of the idea!

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