MPs in Worcestershire have secured a meeting with the Government’s transport minister in a bid to improve the county’s poor train links to London.
Simon Burns has agreed to meet a delegation from the county to discuss the future of the Cotswold Line franchise, which is up for grabs.
As your Worcester News reported in August, the Department for Transport is seeking to award a contract for running the line from 2013 to 2028.
Services from Worcestershire to the capital can take up to three hours – despite commuters asking for faster and more frequent trains for years.
In Worcester, the service is slower than in 1910; then it took one hour and 50 minutes to get from the Faithful City to London, compared with more than two hours now.
The notorious Cotswold Line is partly single-track, overcrowded and infrequent for both commuters and tourists.
The MPs will meet Mr Burns on Tuesday, December 4, to discuss the franchise requirements and to see if the Government can specify a better service for the area.
Robin Walker, who represents Worcester, said: “I am determined to get better and faster rail connections for Worcester.
“This would benefit my constituents and local businesses as well as help the whole county to attract inward investment.”
“It seems crazy that it was quicker to catch a train to Worcester from London 100 years ago than it is today, and we need to see real change fast to improve the situation.”
West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin said: “The Cotswold Line is a crucial link for businesses and urgently needs improving to help the growth of our local economy.
“At the moment, many of our constituents travel on the West Coast Mainline and to Warwick Parkway to avoid the slow and unreliable service on the Cotswold Line.
“The pause in assessing the West Coast and Great Western bids allows us time to renew our call for an improved service for Herefordshire and Worcestershire commuters and a departmental commitment to invest in the infrastructure.”
Mid-Worcestershire MP Peter Luff said: “Worcestershire is probably the least well connected county in England when it comes to rail travel – but it has the potential to be much better.”