05 March 2009

WSMR cut services

One of the UK's newest open-access rail operators, Wrexham Shropshire & Marylebone Railway (WSMR), has announced that with regret it is to withdraw two of its off-peak services linking Wrexham with central London.

Blaming the recession and changing passenger travel patterns, WSMR said that its 1017 & 1217 London Marylebone-Wrexham and 1523 & 1723 Wrexham-London Marylebone trains have been stopped. The claimed that these trains were the least popular of the five return journeys operated.

Between Wrexham and London services call at stations in Shropshire, the West Midlands and Oxfordshire. We understand that WSMR's weekend services are unaffected.

Andy Hamilton, WSMR's managing director, said: "We will no longer be running some of our least popular off-peak weekday services from this coming Monday. We run services without government subsidy and have to respond to customer demand, especially in the context of a recession. We have seen very strong demand on some of our trains and at weekends, and while we are removing some off-peak weekday trains, we are looking at options for increasing weekend services, especially on Sundays. We will continue to offer our passengers the same value-for-money fares and great service."

Passengers who have booked for the withdrawn services should contact WSMR for a free ticket amendment to another service or a full refund.

Mr Hamilton added: "We know that there will be some customers that are inconvenienced, and we hugely regret that. We are passionately committed to the WSMR business, and are hoping that this is a temporary measure. We are already in discussions with Network Rail to create extra slots to run additional trains in time for an upturn in the economy."

Back in April 2008 we made mention of the new services and how that in so doing, WMSR had been the first operator to link Wrexham with London via Shropshire for 41 years. At the time, the company said it was "confident that we will generate a strong market for this service", based on its competitive prices and experience. (GL)

Photo: Anoraksia