Virgin Trains today (22 September 2014) received the green light from the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) to run direct services from both Blackpool and Shrewsbury to London Euston.
The new services will commence in December 2014 and are part of a range of service improvements on the West Coast Main Line route that coincide with the award of Virgin Trains’ extended franchise.
Shrewsbury will see two services in each direction on a weekday, departing at 06:39 and 15:24. With arrival times in Euston at 09:15 and 17:56 the services will call at Telford Central, Wellington, Wolverhampton, Birmingham New Street, Birmingham International, Coventry and Rugby (morning service only). Services back to Shropshire leave Euston at 10:23 and 18:23, arriving in Shrewsbury at 12:58 and 20:55 respectively.
Blackpool North will also benefit from the introduction of a daily trip to London Euston (Monday-Friday). The service will depart at 05:25 and is due to call also at Kirkham & Wesham, Poulton-le-Flyde, Preston, Wigan North Western, Warrington Bank Quay, Crewe and Nuneaton before arriving in London at 08:34. The return service from London Euston departs at 16:33 and arrives back in Blackpool at 19:31.
The Shrewsbury service will commence on Sunday 14 December 2014 with the Blackpool operation starting 24 hours later on Monday 15 December 2014. Full details on the times are given below.
“It’s an exciting time for everyone involved with Virgin Trains,” explained Lead Executive Phil Whittingham. “With our extended franchise we are able to get back to doing what we do best, offering new journey opportunities whilst still delivering the same high standards of service to our customers.
“We have worked hard with our industry partners to gain the approval for these new services. Special thanks must go to the ORR, Network Rail and the Department for Transport. We thank them all for this big vote of confidence.”
“We couldn’t be more pleased and are really looking forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure they are a success and become a permanent fixture of the railway timetable.”
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This is great news for passengers. Strong transport links are an important part of our long-term economic plan, which is why we are investing £38 billion over the next five years on maintaining and improving our railways. I am pleased to see companies like Virgin working together with Network Rail and the ORR to get better services for passengers.”
A spokesman for Network Rail said: "Direct trains between London and Blackpool and Shrewsbury will be a valuable addition to the services which already connect both towns to the rest of the rail network. They will provide greater business and leisure opportunities and will support and develop local economic growth as a result of improved access to the capital.
“We have worked closely with Virgin Trains, the ORR and the wider industry to make this possible to help meet the demands of passengers and will continue to do so ahead of the first services being introduced in December 2014.”
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