Wrexham councillor brands rail firm owners a ‘disgrace’

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

A COUNCILLOR yesterday branded the owners of Wrexham and Shropshire railway a “disgrace”.

Cllr Mark Pritchard was speaking at a Wrexham Council executive meeting where the closure of the train company was called as an urgent item of business.

Last week Wrexham and Shropshire, which ran direct train services between Wrexham, Shropshire and London, announced it was closing after three years in operation.

Managers made the announcement on Wednesday and the final service to London was on Friday. Cllr Pritchard said: “The way they acted is a disgrace.

“They should have had the courtesy of a consultation. It’s not the way we do business and it’s sad the way they have acted.

“It’s a disaster for Wrexham as I feel this train put Wrexham on the map.

“It’s a sad day for Wrexham.”

Cllr Neil Rogers told the meeting  the council were still keen to promote Wrexham and did not want to send out the wrong message to bosses at the train company.

Councillors supported a recommendation to express concern to the Welsh Assembly Government and the Office of Rail Regulation about the closure of Wrexham and Shropshire.

They also voted to have discussions about the future of the cafe, taxi operators and bus services at Wrexham General Station.

They agreed to update the council’s executive board on March 8 with any response to the closure of Wrexham and Shropshire as part of an item on the agenda about providing an additional express rail link between Holyhead and Cardiff.

Cllr David Bithell said: “Obviously it was with great disappointment when we heard on Tuesday last week that the service would cease to exist by Friday.

“It was a sudden announcement and the staff only had four days for their notice of termination.”

Cllr Rogers added the news came as a double blow because of the recent announcement that Wrexham would miss out on a new express train service from Holyhead to Cardiff.

“Here we are trying to promote Wrexham as a city of the future and we have been hit in the last few days,” said Cllr Rogers.

“A petition to save it (Wrexham and Shropshire) is a waste of time because people should have been using the service.”

Cllr Ron Davies questioned whether the Welsh Assembly Government could provide a subsidy for another link between Wrexham and London.

In response Cllr Rodney Skelland said: “I would be surprised if they would give a subsidy for travel into England.”

See full story in the Leader

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