Express & Star

Scrapped: Key direct rail service from West Midlands to London is to end

The direct rail service connecting Shropshire to London will be scrapped in June due to falling passenger numbers and cuts in funding, the Express & Star can reveal.

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Avanti West Coast will be discontinuing its direct service from Shrewsbury to London

The Department for Transport has confirmed that Avanti West Coast will be scrapping the service from June 2, after this newspaper obtained a leaked internal memo.

Direct services to the capital will instead depart from Birmingham New Street, while return trains will terminate at Wolverhampton on weekdays, and at Birmingham at weekends.

The company had pledged to increase direct rail connections to the capital when it took over the franchise in December 2019.

But a spokeswoman for the Department for Transport said falling passenger numbers meant the service was now losing £1.4 million a year.

"Changing travel patterns mean our railways aren’t generating the same revenues as they were before the [coronavirus] pandemic, and we can't ask taxpayers to maintain the historically high level of financial support for the industry indefinitely," she said.

Shrewsbury Railway Station will lose its direct link to the capital

The spokeswoman said the number of rail services between Shropshire and Wolverhampton would be increased to mitigate the loss of the direct link.