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Last Updated: Monday, 3 September 2007, 16:20 GMT 17:20 UK
Direct rail link to London backed
Wrexham station
The service will provide a direct link to London's Marylebone station
Plans for a direct rail service between Wrexham and London have been approved by the rail regulator.

A rail watchdog called the five services each way on weekdays and a reduced service at weekends "good news" for passengers.

The service, which could begin running from spring 2008, will create 50 jobs at an operating depot in Wrexham.

Objections from rival train operators and worries over congestion on the rail network had delayed the plans.

Arriva, Virgin West Coast Trains and Central Trains voiced objections when the Wrexham, Shropshire and Marylebone Railway Company (WSMR) submitted its application to run the services to the regulator in December.

At that time, the Welsh Assembly Government had already offered funding for the depot to be built at Wrexham General station.

In the past, passengers from Wrexham wanting to travel to London would have had to use an indirect service via Chester and Crewe.

Rail map
The direct link from Wrexham covers stations into Shropshire

The new trains will stop at stations including Shrewsbury, Telford, Wolverhampton and Banbury en route to London's Marylebone station.

As well as the weekday services, there will be three each way on Saturdays and three north bound and two south bound trains on Sunday.

Andy Hamilton, managing director of WSMR said staff recruitment was already underway but that the decision would enable them to start training their team and refurbishing trains.

A launch date for the new services is expected in the new year.

Simon Pickering from rail watchdog Passenger Focus said they were confident that the rail regulator would have looked into any potential issues before giving their approval.

"This is good news for passengers," he said.

"The key now is that this new service is competitive in areas where passengers would like to see benefits including the level of service, journey times and punctuality."

Transport Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones called it "extremely good news for north east Wales".

Objections to Wrexham rail link
13 Feb 07 |  North East Wales
Walsall to London rail link plan
28 Feb 07 |  West Midlands
Rail depot may bring London link
21 Nov 06 |  North East Wales
Doubts over town's railway centre
19 Oct 06 |  North East Wales
Direct London train for Wrexham
01 Feb 06 |  North East Wales

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