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New direct rail links from Blackpool and Shrewsbury to London launch this weekend

New direct rail services to London from Blackpool and Shrewsbury begin this weekend after the Office of Rail Regulation finally approved routes in September.

The new daily West Coast Main Line services operated by Virgin Trains will start on Sunday with a 15.49 departure from Shrewsbury calling at Telford Central and Wellington on its way to London Euston.

The first service from Blackpool will start 24 hours later on Monday 15 December.

Shrewsbury will see two services in each direction on a weekday, departing at 06.39 and 15.24. With arrival times in Euston at 09.15 and 17.56 the services will call at Telford Central, Wellington, Wolverhampton, Birmingham New Street, Birmingham International, Coventry and Rugby (morning service only).  Services back to Shropshire leave Euston at 10.23 and 18.23, arriving in Shrewsbury at 12.58 and 20.55 respectively.

The weekday Blackpool North service will depart at 05.25 and is due to call also at Kirkham & Wesham, Poulton-le-Flyde, Preston, Wigan North Western, Warrington Bank Quay, Crewe and Nuneaton before arriving in London at 08.34.  The return service from London Euston departs at 16.33 and arrives back in Blackpool at 19.31.

Campaigners in the Shropshire have been pressing for such services ever since the Wrexham & Shropshire direct services were axed in 2011.

Virgin had made a previous bid in August 2013 to restore the services but the ORR rejected it citing concerns due to capacity issues on the busy West Coast Main Line.

The new services were approved because they are extensions of existing services, rather than entirely new ones that would put further pressure on the overcrowded southern end of the WCML.

Richard Stanton, of Virgin Trains, said: “Our new direct service from Shropshire to and from London is just a matter of days away.  We couldn’t be more excited and have been overwhelmed by the backing we have received from so many in the past few months.”

A spokesman for Network Rail said that the new link between London and Blackpool and Shrewsbury will be a valuable addition to the services which already connect both towns to the rest of the rail network, providing greater business and leisure opportunities, and that a link to the capital will help support local economic growth.

(Image: c. Peter Trimming)

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


Neil Palmer   13/12/2014 at 20:57

Too bad Virgin didn't at least start the morning service back at Wrexham around 05:55, with an evening return around 19:05.

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