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Call to improve Ledbury station
11:44am Monday 24th September 2012 in News
Improvements to the Worcester-Hereford rail line are needed as well as work on Ledbury Station, says MP Bill Wiggin.
He secured an adjournment debate with Transport Minister Norman Baker in order to fight for better train services between Herefordshire and London.
Mr Wiggin argues that weekday trains start too late for anyone in Herefordshire to make it to a London office for 9am and finish too early for there to be any flexibility in working hours.
“Crucially there are not enough direct trains on this route. Trains to Hereford should not terminate prematurely at Worcester or Malvern and the Minister agreed that there is a good case for more direct services.
“The Invitation to Tender (ITT) for the operation of the Great Western franchise is currently under consideration. This could serve as a great opportunity to improve Herefordshire’s rail links.”
Mr Wiggins argued that by encouraging at least one more direct service per day and ensuring that the awarded train operating company sticks to this, the ITT document could help to deliver real progress.
He drew attention to the need for infrastructure investment on the Worcester to Hereford section of the line and pushed for Ledbury Station to be included in the access for all scheme. The Minister replied by saying that a further £100million had been allocated to the scheme and he would ensure that the position at Ledbury is examined for participation.
With regard to the new 15 year franchise, the Minister said that it is supposed to allow the train operating company the flexibility to respond directly to passengers needs. It could also make it easier for relationships with Network Rail and private investors to form and therefore lead to investment opportunities.
But until the Government agrees to actively encourage the above, Mr Wiggin says he is determined to work with the awarded bidder to ensure that it does make the most of this flexibility to improve the timetable for good.
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