Wednesday 26 January 2011

Ferry Interesting, a P.S.

good try, but ...
Wrexham and Shropshire?   An unsubsidised railway company operating between London Marylebone, Shropshire (Shrewsbury) and Wrexham; there is a clue in the name.

A year or so ago, fbb and a good friend took a journey with Wrexham and Shropshire, first class - thus including lunch out and dinner back.  It was absolutely splendid in every way.   But it would seem that the passengers simply weren't there.   The service worked under several disadvantages.   Because the giant Virgin has protected non-competition rights, the trains had to run (slowly) on the Chiltern line rather than fast from Euston and, more stupidly, were not allowed to run via Birmingham New Street.

It is pretty clear that these burdens made the service unattractive for long distance passengers and unusable for shorter runs.  fbb, for example,  travelled  from Marylebone to Tame Bridge Parkway (for Birmingham???) and caught a local train back to an exhibition at Birmingham International.  Crazily, the train back passed through and actually stopped at Birmingham International but the doors remained firmly locked.
Tame Bridge Parkway, the nearest W&S trains
could get to Birmingham.  Interchange luxury, NOT!

The staff were all enthusiastic and served their (few) passengers with courtesy and  consideration.   It was an example of what a rail service should be.  The food was ample and excellent despite being pre-prepared and from the on-board freezer.   It was a lesson in cost-effective train catering.

Wrexham and Shropshire - RIP - you will be sadly missed!   Would it all have worked if REAL competition were allowed and big brother Virgin did not have the "moderation of competition" protection?   We shall never know.

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