20 January 2015
RMT Press Office
Transport union RMT is joining forces with rail users to save services between Wrexham and Birmingham and Shrewsbury.
A campaign is now under way to protect the train services which are believed to be under threat. RMT and 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.
As the SCRUA campaign group points out, 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.
It is now being proposed 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.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“RMT stands shoulder to shoulder with the SCRUA users group in their fight to save services that are currently threatened by Arriva Trains Wales and we are calling on the company to back off. We know that this campaign also enjoys high profile political support and the union will be looking to maximise that through our own contacts.
“The train company needs to listen to the rail users and the staff and pull back from these ill-conceived plans before lasting damage is done to highly-valued and important services.”