PERSHORE'S rail users will be left out in the cold by plans to upgrade London services to hourly from December 2018, it was revealed at a public meeting in Pershore Town Hall.

Around 80 people packed into the meeting at the town hall, attended by representatives of Great Western Railway and Worcestershire County Council

They heard that Pershore will have to wait on redoubling of the track between the town and Worcester - for which there is currently no timescale or funding - before seeing any improvements in services.

And the 15-year delay in any improvements to the 20-space car park at the station is set to continue with no funding for an upgrade.

Rail campaigners say these factors, plus the new Worcester Parkway station, pose a threat to future usage of Pershore as travellers could desert the station to find better facilities elsewhere.

"Over forty years of fighting for proper recognition of Pershore as the second-largest town on the line between Worcester and Oxford could now be at risk," said Julian Palfrey, chairman of the Pershore Public Transport Group.

"Pershore has already seen its level of train services reduced in recent timetables, yet the only commitment from the meeting was that Pershore's services would not be further reduced.

"There is no reason why the fast growing town of Pershore should not be served by the new fast hourly services in the same way as it was served by all the fast Adelante trains when they were introduced in 2004/5 and when journey times were up to 20 minutes faster than now," said Mr Palfrey."Pershore is already served by a virtual hourly train service on Saturdays and Sundays which works."

"County council budget cutbacks have already led to the decimation of rural bus services in South Worcestershire with large villages such as Fladbury and Eckington losing all or most of their off-peak buses. Now council policies pose a very real threat to the future of rural rail services from stations such as Pershore."

"Pershore needs its rail station more than ever to cater for the growth in passenger numbers and the massive growth in housing near the station. The fight for better than a second-class service for the second-largest town on the line continues."