AN INFLUENTIAL railway support group says it shares an MP’s concern over the withdrawal of funding from the Chester-Shrewsbury Rail Partnership.

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas has slammed Arriva Trains Wales’ plan to withdraw £10,000 of financial backing from the partnership, which works to promote and develop the use of the line between North Wales and Shropshire.

He said he found it “inexplicable” that the funds were to be removed from an organisation which has played a “central role” in improving services on the line.

Arriva Trains Wales said that due to the success of the partnership in promoting the line it would be diverting funding to other routes in need of development.

Shrewsbury-Chester Rail Users’ Association (SCRUA) has now stepped into the row by announcing it shares the concern that funding had been withdrawn on the grounds that the “job is done”.

Association spokesman George Jones said: “SCRUA works closely with the partnership’s rail officer in helping to promote use of trains on the line between Shrewsbury and Chester.

“It recognises the need for continued improvement to facilities at stations and on trains and acknowledges the work of the partnership in achieving improvements which were outside the remit of the train operator.

“The line continues to be hamstrung by low line-speed and inadequate line capacity to accept additional trains, notably the single line section north of Wrexham.

“These issues have been promoted by the partnership, but remain to be tackled by Network Rail and must continue to be pursued.”

He added: “Most trains on the Shrewsbury to Chester line are well used, but there is still spare capacity and I am surprised that ATW thinks there is no need tomake any further effort.

"In addition there is still much to be done to improve facilities at all stations on the line to bring them up to an acceptable standard.”