UKIP’s transport spokesman has condemned Arriva Trains Wales for its plans to axe morning rush-hour trains across the heart of Shropshire.
Jill Seymour described it as the latest ‘kick in the teeth’ to rural commuters who relied on a quality public transport network more than most.
Mrs Seymour, who represents UKIP on the European Union’s transport committee, was reacting to news that Arriva Trains Wales plans to stop its morning service from Wrexham to Birmingham, calling at Chirk, Gobowen, Shrewsbury and Telford.
A feeder service which departs from Shrewsbury at 7am across the border into North Wales is also facing the axe when the new timetable comes into force next year.
Mrs Seymour, who is based just outside Telford and represents the West Midlands in Brussels, said: “Arriva Trains Wales insists this new timetable is still under development and has yet to be agreed.
“The company says it will listen to feedback from customers as part of the consultation process – but it is blatantly obvious what that feedback is going to say.
“Rail travellers in Shropshire who have used this commuter service for many years will be furious at the news.”
She added: “It is made worse by the fact that Arriva Trains Wales has just signed a £1.2 million deal with the Department of Transport to launch new rail services into Manchester Piccadilly.
“So this smacks of robbing Peter to pay Paul, and relocating services from smaller towns and rural areas to more populated urban cities.
“It is another kick in the teeth to rural commuters at a time when they are being urged to use public transport. What are they to do if it barely exists at the time they need it most?”
Mrs Seymour said: “All the time these cuts are being made, the Government is blindly pressing ahead with its plans for an HS2 service which will bring little or no benefit to the West Midlands.
“The budget is going to come in well over £50 billion, and dozens of officials working on the project are to be paid more than the Prime Minister.
“Where is the common sense and justice? Imagine what sort of improvements that kind of money could make to the existing public transport infrastructure in our region.”
“I know that the Chester-Shrewsbury Rail Partnership and the Shrewsbury-Chester Rail User Group are most concerned at the impact these Arriva changes will have on passengers from this area, and I wish them every success in their campaign to get them overturned.”