THOUSANDS of people protesting at the axing of the direct Wrexham to London rail link could form an official action group to campaign for it to be restored.

That is the aim of the man who set up an online petition which has now attracted more than 6,000 names.

Last week, train operator Wrexham & Shropshire announced the service was being stopped immediately, less than three years after it was launched.

The company said that despite attempts to boost passenger numbers the business had no prospect of becoming profitable.

The final train ran last Friday and 55 people employed to run the service have now lost their jobs.

The demise of the service, which ran between Wrexham General and London Marylebone stations, has sparked a furious reaction locally and in Shropshire, where it stopped on its way to London.

Alex Matthews, 37, who lives in Montgomery and used the service to travel from Shrewsbury to London for his job in advertising, started the petition the day after the news was released.

The original target was 5,000 signatures but within days the petition had hit 1,000 and by yesterday stood at more than 6,000.

Alex said: “This is just amazing – the petition seems to have taken on a life of its own. People obviously feel very strongly about this.

“When it is finished I intend to bring it to the attention of the transport ministers of the UK and Welsh Assembly Governments and all the MPs whose constituencies are affected in North Wales and Shropshire.

“The Wrexham & Shropshire service was outside existing franchise arrangements which meant it did not qualify for government subsidies.

“My intention is to have it recognised as a franchise so it can be picked up by another operator, maybe in the next round of bidding next year.”

Mr Matthews added: “The thousands of names on the petition could be very useful in the campaign. Whenever there is a development I could email everyone who signed and invite them to get involved.

“They would be a ready-made action group. I also intend to set up a dedicated website called something like ‘Direct Line to London’, which would keep everyone up to date with what’s happening.”

The petition can be found at