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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2006, 12:00 GMT
Rail depot may bring London link
Wrexham station
The depot would be built at Wrexham General station
A Wrexham to London rail link is a step closer, after the Welsh Assembly Government offered funding for a depot.

Enterprise minister Andrew Davies said he hoped the investment would "pave the way" for a regular train service.

There were fears the new rail centre - and 60 new jobs - would be moved to Shrewsbury after the assembly said a month ago it could not fund it.

The Wrexham, Shropshire and Marylebone Railway Company (WSMR) said it hoped the 900,000 costs would be covered.

It would involve building a new depot at Wrexham General station, which would enable the company to service trains overnight.

Mr Davies said it was subject to approval from the Office of the Rail Regulator.

Site survey

If approved, it would be open to all train operating companies and should be completed by the middle of 2007.

Network Rail is undertaking a site survey at one of Wrexham's two main railway stations.

This is great news for the local area of Wrexham and an important development for commuters and the business community
Karen Sinclair AM

Announcing the funding offer to Network Rail, Andrew Davies said on Tuesday: "The construction of the new depot at Wrexham will not only create over 50 full time jobs but will pave the way for a regular commercial train service to and from Wrexham.

"This announcement builds on the record level of investment by the Welsh Assembly Government in our railway network, which has seen the opening of new stations and lines, increased capacity in existing services and substantial steps to improve the safety and comfort of all train users across Wales."

WSMR director John Nelson, said the company's board was meeting in London on Tuesday to discuss the offer.

He said the company did not yet have details of the offer, but it is believed it would cover the cost of building a suitable infrastructure at Wrexham - estimated at 900,000.

In October, the company said it was considering abandoning its plans for Wrexham after the Assembly Government ruled the scheme was ineligible for a grant.

At the time, the company said it was being forced to consider Shrewsbury as an alternative base, and might therefore be forced to scale down its planned Wrexham to London services.

Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Nelson said: "They (Assembly Government) have always wanted to do something to help, but believed they couldn't offer us the grant directly. I would certainly not be critical of them."

He said they were "awaiting detail" but that the decision would "strengthen the application" with the Office of Rail Regulation to services.

Karen Sinclair, Assembly Member for Clwyd South, said: "This is great news for the local area of Wrexham and an important development for commuters and the business community."




SEE ALSO
Doubts over town's railway centre
19 Oct 06 |  North East Wales
Direct London train for Wrexham
01 Feb 06 |  North East Wales
New stations in 155m rail plans
31 Jan 06 |  South East Wales

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