The long awaited direct train service between our county town and the capital launches on 13 December. But Ludlow residents will have to drive to Shrewsbury to catch it.

141001_Star_Capital_link_blow_for_commutersShropshire Star, 1 October 2014

In today’s Shropshire Star, Tom Morton reports that Arriva is refusing to bring the first train forward to enable a connection with the new train. The 6.11am from Ludlow arrives in Shrewsbury at 6.43am. The new train service will leave Shrewsbury four minutes earlier at 6.39am. We only need to bring the train ten or fifteen minutes earlier to create a connection.

But Arriva aren’t shifting. They say it will negatively impact on other commuters, but I can’t see that a few minutes shift will do that. The article also says that trains from the north of the county will miss the London service.

That’s wrong. It shows our model of privatised train services isn’t working. I am not against the private sector running train services. I am against private companies making decisions that are not in the public interest. Especially when they get a £159 million subsidy.

This decision will mean that non-drivers like me can’t catch the new train. It will make it difficult for those of us who live in Ludlow to share journeys to London with colleagues from Shrewsbury and around the county. Train journeys these days are opportunities for business meetings, as well as to doze. The decision could also mean there will be fewer travellers on the new service and that could threaten its viability.

I’ll be asking to meet Arriva’s management to explain why we can’t make a small change that will bring big benefits.

The new train times

Monday to Saturday services leave Shrewsbury at 6.39am and 3.24pm, arriving at Euston 9.15am and 5.56pm. Return services leave Euston at 10.23am and 6.23pm, arriving in Shrewsbury at 12.58pm and 8.55pm.

On Sunday, a single service will leave Shrewsbury at 3.20pm and return from London at 7pm, arriving in time for the last train to Ludlow.

Transport Direct

The government has closed its popular Transport Direct journey planner service at just seven days’ notice. The best alternative looks like Traveline.

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