Save the 0747 Wrexham to Birmingham rail service
A Local Rail user group is launching a campaign to protect a train service which it believes to be under threat. The Shrewsbury to Chester Rail Users Association (SCRUA), which has represented the travelling public using the line since 1986 understands that the current franchise holder, Arriva Trains Wales, is investigating plans to axe the 0747 Wrexham to Birmingham rail service from the timetable from May 2015. Also facing the chop is understood to be the 0700 from Shrewsbury which arrives in Wrexham at 0739.
The 0747 from Wrexham calls at Ruabon, Chirk, and Gobowen and provides an important direct service for commuters and students from NE Wales to the West Midlands and Birmingham Airport. It is very busy train. Records show that there has always been a train to Birmingham at around the same time, even in Great Western days when it ran to Paddington!
What has been suggested is that the Holyhead to Cardiff ‘Premier’ express service, which currently runs non-stop between Wrexham and Shrewsbury, should stop additionally at Ruabon, Chirk and Gobowen. But it runs 15 minutes earlier (currently 07.32 from Wrexham) and passengers for the Birmingham line would face inconvenience and delay to their journeys through having to change at Shrewsbury.
SCRUA chairman John Mattocks believes this will act as a deterrent to rail use. He says: "this is bad news if you are one of the many commuters who use the service to get to work in Telford, Wolverhampton and Birmingham, as this would mean an earlier start, and would necessitate a change at Shrewsbury, all factors which might make the rail option less attractive and force commuters onto the road"
Additional services, backed by Welsh Government, are being provided for the Cambrian and Heart of Wales Lines from next May, a move which SCRUA totally supports, however it is concerned that services are being strengthened elsewhere to the detriment of passengers between Chester and Shrewsbury. The group believes that additional or strengthened services must be properly funded and extra trains brought in. There should be no cut in services especially as May 2015 will see the opening of the re-doubled track north of Wrexham, funded by the Welsh Government at a cost of over £40 million to help improve services on the line.