BUSSES are set to run in place of trains in Wrexham as part of timetable changes.

Busses will collect passengers at Shrewsbury going to Chirk and Ruabon during the morning rush hour, with a new Transport for Wales express service from Cardiff to Holyhead not stopping at these stations.

The 9.25am Transport for Wales service from Shrewsbury north along this line will from December 15 no longer run, with the new express service departing Shrewsbury at 9.01am but not stopping at Gobowen, Chirk or Ruabon and departing Wrexham General at 9.30am.

The next service north from Wrexham will be over 90 minutes later at 11.03am.

The Chester Shrewsbury Rail Partnership claims it has, over the past few months, tried to engage with Transport for Wales over its proposed new timetable for December 2019.

Following a timetable meeting held in Cardiff with other stakeholders Transport for Wales announced it is unable amend the planned December timetable changes for this line.

The partnership says it has been acknowledged that by introducing an express service from Cardiff to Holyhead which would not stop at Chirk and Ruabon, Transport for Wales is in breach of the Train Service Requirement and to mitigate this it is running a bus service in its place.

The timings have now been released and involve a bus service collecting passengers at Shrewsbury for the affected stations and also another bus service which will collect passengers from Chirk and Ruabon and pick up and drop off on the line of route before terminating in Chester for onward rail connections.

Monday to Friday, buses from Shrewsbury Railway Station will run at 9.25am, and stop off at Chirk station at 10.10am and Ruabon Station at 10.30am.

Buses will also run Monday to Friday from Gobowen Railway Station at 9.15am. They will stop at Chirk Station at 9.25am and depart at 9.30, Ruabon Station arriving 9.45am and departing at 9.50am, Wrexham General arriving 10.05am and departing 10.10am and Chester Railway Station arriving 10.40, where the bus terminates.

Cllr David A Bithell, chair of the partnership, said he was disappointed to hear that buses were going to run instead of trains, which was clearly outside Transport for Wales franchise commitment and agreement on devolution.

He also calls into question the franchised system of the railways and if railways should be renationalised to deliver the aspirations of the public.

A Transport for Wales spokesman said: “We made a commitment to introduce a new Cardiff – Holyhead service departing from Cardiff Central before 7.30am with a total journey time of under 4 hours 30 minutes, which will come into operation with the introduction of the new timetable on December 16.

“Unfortunately to achieve this we were not able to accommodate the stops between Shrewsbury and Chester due to the impact it will have on other existing services in the area at that time in the morning.

“We have made every effort to accommodate stops at these stations and the introduction of a replacement bus service to serve the affected stations is a workable and sensible solution to what was difficult issue to resolve.”

The changes from December 15 in full are as follows:

• The 09:25 service from Shrewsbury north along this line will no longer run

• An express service from Cardiff to Holyhead will depart Shrewsbury at 09:01 but not stop at Gobowen, Chirk or Ruabon and will depart Wrexham General at 09:30

• The next service north from Wrexham will be over 90 minutes later at 11.03

• Services north from Gobowen, Chirk and Ruabon will be two hourly

• In the afternoon the previous 14.20 Chester train south will not run.

• The 14.20 has been re-timed and there will be a departure from Chester at 13.16 and 13.38 and stop at all stations, Wrexham, Ruabon Chirk and Gobowen.

• However, the next service south from Chester will not be until 15.36 almost two hours later giving a similar wait at Wrexham, Ruabon, Chirk and Gobowen.

• Passengers from Manchester, Crewe, Leeds, London and Liverpool arriving in Chester after 13.38 and making a connection may need to wait nearly two hours until 15.36.