Page last updated at 07:58 GMT, Friday, 25 July 2008 08:58 UK

Funding for rail service removed

A London Midland train (Pic: London Midland)
The Wolverhampton to Walsall service is "quick and reliable"

A rail link between two West Midlands stations could be axed after the government said it is ending its funding.

The Department for Transport has said the 15-minute long Walsall to Wolverhampton link is "lightly used".

West Midlands transport bosses are urging the government to reconsider, saying the number of passengers using the line has grown to 60,000 per year.

A spokesman said commuters would have a 40-minute bus journey instead.

Gary Clarke, chairman of passenger authority Centro, said he would be writing to rail minister Tom Harris.

'Vital link'

He said he will be writing a letter to Mr Harris to express his disappointment at the decision.

He said: "The Walsall-to-Wolverhampton rail service is a vital link for many Walsall and Wolverhampton residents by providing a quick and reliable connection between the two boroughs and giving much needed access to connecting rail services.

"Existing bus services take over 40 minutes to cover the 15-minute rail journey.

"Thanks to the increase in reliability and punctuality on the Walsall-to-Wolverhampton line, confidence has grown and we have seen the number of people taking advantage of this service rise significantly."

The government has said it is focussing on providing extra capacity on the busiest routes in the region as part of a franchise agreement.

"The Walsall-to-Wolverhampton rail service was not included in the franchise agreement as the route is lightly used," a statement said.




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