£5 BILLION to be invested in Shropshire rail services

Up to £5 billion will be invested in railway services in and around Shropshire, it has been revealed.

KeolisAmey, the new providers of rail services in the county, has pledged to invest the money over the next 15 years.

The company, which has taken over the franchise of Transport for Wales from Arriva Trains Wales, said it will also introduce new rolling stock from 2022 and will increase passenger capacity.

Current rail services have been called "truly shocking" by Telford's MP, Lucy Allan, following delays, cancellations and carriage shortages that have been a reoccurring problem since July 2018.

In a joint open letter with Network Rail, released in November 2018, the company apologised for the problems which left many users, particularly travelling from Shrewsbury and Telford to Birmingham stranded or unable to travel.

In the letter, KeolisAmey also promised to replace all trains at a cost of £800 million, and to have 95 per cent of journeys on new trains within five years.

The second operator serving Telford, West Midlands Trains, is preparing to deliver an additional hourly service in May.

This comes as Telford's Tory MP met rail minister Andrew Jones to raise concerns from Telford residents about local train services.

"We have seen a marked deterioration in our train service dating back to July last year," said Ms Allan.

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"I have been meeting with the train operators and other partners to try and improve this situation and I have also been raising the matter in Parliament.

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"Telford is a significant contributor to the West Midlands economy and we need a long term strategy for our rail connections, as well as a solution to address the current overcrowding and delays being experienced by commuters. The service is truly shocking.

"I am pleased that the minister listened carefully and has agreed to raise my concerns with the train operators.

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"The extra hourly service in May will help, but random cuts to the number of carriages on a regular basis are simply unacceptable.

"Commuters are really suffering and no one seems to be listening. We need to see all local partners joining together to speak out about the poor service that we currently experience.

"I want to see our council supporting my efforts to bring the operators into line and deliver a decent service, and I want to see our council working constructively, not just with the local MPs but with the West Midlands Mayor and the West Midlands Rail Executive. I will continue to push on this important issue.”

Rail minister Andrew Jones, said: "We discussed several issues concerning the rail services in the area, including the timetable and the rolling stock – above all, how to deliver a better service for rail passengers.

"The next steps will be for actions from the meeting to be progressed, and I look forward to working with Lucy in the future.”

KeolisAmey has also pledged more than £700 million to electrify the South Wales valleys lines, add more services and launch the new South Wales Metro over the next 15 years.




Date: 11 January 2019 | Source: Shropshire Star

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