BETTER punctuality, more services, new destinations and faster journey times will benefit rail users in Shropshire when Arriva Trains Wales introduces its new December timetable, says the company.
Starting on Sunday, December 14, rail users will able to benefit from a new, direct service to Birmingham International Airport (BIA) and the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) from Shrewsbury.
This new service will improve punctuality of services and provide an additional 650 seats a day on busy services between Shrewsbury and Birmingham.
It will also be fully integrated with the new Virgin Trains timetable on the West Coast Main Line.
The introduction of the new service will also address a longstanding performance issue whereby services to Birmingham, via Shrewsbury were frequently terminated short at Wolverhampton due to pathing problems into the busy Birmingham New Street station.
The new timetable will provide faster, direct services daily between North and South Wales via Shrewsbury.
Mike Bagshaw, commercial director of Arriva Trains Wales, explained: “We’ve seen regular increases in passenger numbers in recent years. These changes to the timetable are designed to respond to customer demand by providing more regular, direct and faster services for passengers in Shropshire.
“The link with Birmingham International Airport, as well as the National Exhibition Centre, is a significant improvement to the service, providing a new route for the first time via rail for Shropshire passengers.
“We’re committed to providing customers across our network with a first rate service and have set ambitious growth plans to extend existing services in 2009”.
Simon Pickering, Passenger Focus’s manager in Wales, said: “We welcome and support Arriva Trains Wales’ timetable changes.
“The North-South Wales route is a significant part of the transport network in Wales. The changes will be positive for most passengers, who also stand to benefit from the changes to the Cambrian Line providing the first direct route to key Birmingham destinations.”
The new timetable is part of a series of changes, which aim to improve performance, increase seating capacity and offer more journey opportunities across key destinations on mainline routes in Wales and the English border area.