GOBOWEN could soon have a direct line to London as early as 2025, if a bid to create a new line for North Wales, Shropshire and the Midlands is successful.

French railway giant Alstom is planning to operate a new passenger rail service across England and Wales.

Working in partnership with consultancy SLC Rail, the open access operation will be known as Wrexham, Shropshire and Midlands Railway (WSMR).


Alstom is seeking to run its first passenger line in the UK, having previously supplied new trains as well as infrastructure.

Nick Crossfield, managing director UK and Ireland at Alstom, said: “As the country’s leading supplier of rolling stock and train services, it makes perfect sense that we now move into operating our own fleet to serve passengers directly.

“Having been part of the fabric of UK rail for two centuries, we’re excited to enter this new era as an open access operator.

“Alstom is also committed to embedding sustainability into every element of our organisation, and WSMR will help drive a modal shift from road to rail by offering a greener alternative for travellers across England and Wales.”

Avanti West Coast is to withdraw its current daily return service between London Euston and Shrewsbury in June.

It has been 13 years since train company Wrexham & Shropshire – which operated between London Marylebone and Wrexham via Shrewsbury – ceased trading due to mounting losses.

WSMR will run direct trains from Wrexham, Gobowen, Shrewsbury, Walsall and Coleshill to the capital. with services expected to begin in 2025 and create about 50 jobs.

Five trains are expected to run in each direction Monday to Saturday, with four travelling both ways on Sundays.

Trains will stop at Gobowen, Shrewsbury, Telford Central, Wolverhampton, Darlaston, Walsall, Coleshill Parkway, Nuneaton and Milton Keynes on their journey between Wrexham General and London Euston.

“These exciting proposals could see better connections for communities across North Wales and the Midlands, including direct services to London from Shrewsbury, Telford and Wrexham,” said rail minister Huw Merriman.

Ian Walters, managing director at Midlands-based SLC Rail, added: “From the Welsh borders to the Midlands, our routes will forge new connections, linking overlooked regions of England and Wales with direct services to and from London."

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He also promised "competitive fares" and "simplified ticket purchasing" through new technology.

WSMR trains will bypass the congested Birmingham route by using the Sutton Park line, which is currently used for freight.

As an open access operator, WSMR is a wholly commercial operation, which remains separate from the Government's franchised rail operations.

WSMR will submit a formal application to add its services to the UK network to the Office of Rail and Road today (Thursday, March 14).