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‘Cheap’ London train route closes

Created on 26/01/2011 @ 11:18
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A company, set up in 2008, which provided Montgomeryshire residents with cheap train route to London from Shrewsbury is to close.
Wrexham & Shropshire today (Wednesday) announced that, following an investigation into all possible alternatives, it will cease operations on Friday.
The organisation cited the unprecedented economic environment as a contributing factor and although the company has strived to increase passenger numbers, it has been determined that the business has no prospect of reaching profitability.
Wrexham & Shropshire is not insolvent nor is it being placed in administration and all outstanding financial commitments will be met. Alternative employment opportunities within the railway industry are being sought for the 55 employees.
The company has undertaken a series of activities in an attempt to move the business into profit. In 2009 the original service of five trains per day was reduced to four. This was followed in December 2010 when two lightly used services were combined to reduce the service to three trains per day.
Chairman Adrian Shooter, explained: "Regrettably, we have concluded that the potential for further changes to the company's operations, including any synergy with Arriva Trains Wales, will not improve the financial position sufficiently. The shareholders have invested in excess of £13m in launching the business and funding its losses, and have now concluded that there is no reasonable prospect that Wrexham & Shropshire can become profitable, or offer a return on this investment."
Wrexham & Shropshire launched in April 2008, restoring direct train services between Wrexham, Shropshire and London. The company quickly developed a reputation for excellence in customer service,and was popular with Montgomeryshire residents who could reach London from Shrewsbury for as little as £42 return.
Despite strong growth in passenger numbers, the business has not been able to generate sufficient revenues to cover more than 65% of the cost of operating the service and in 2010 alone suffered losses of £2.9 million.
The last train to depart will be the 1830 train from London Marylebone to Wrexham General on Friday January 28. From Saturday, all Wrexham & Shropshire tickets already purchased will be valid on alternative routes into London Euston operated by Arriva Trains Wales, London Midland and Virgin Trains, and from London Marylebone by Chiltern Railways.

The Wrexham & Shropshire customer service centre will remain open to provide customer support. Customers wishing to speak to an adviser should call 0845 260 5200 (local call rate from anywhere in the UK).

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