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It's time to end Worcestershire's 'poor relation' status for trains, says MP
IT'S time to finally end Worcestershire's "poor relation" status for trains - that's the damning verdict from a county MP.
Sir Peter Luff says he is fed up of Worcestershire being "one of the worst served counties" in the UK for rail services to London.
The Conservative has taken his gripe right to the heart of the Coalition Government - and held behind-closed-doors talks with rail minister Stephen Hammond on Thursday to lobby for change.
During the meeting the MP showed Mr Hammond a presentation detailing how Worcestershire has fallen behind the rest of the country.
He used a comparison with Norwich, showing how despite the East Anglian city being around the same distance from the capital as Worcester, trains are quicker and available far more often.
Mr Luff, who represents Mid-Worcestershire, said: "I honestly believe Worcestershire is one of the worst served counties when it comes to rail services to London - it is the poor relation of the UK’s rail network.
"We know the inadequate rail links to London deter investment in our county.
"The two cities (Worcester and Norwich) are about the same distance from London and serve the same number of people.
"But there are 36 services (to the Norwich area) per weekday and only 15 services to Evesham and Worcester.
"The journey to Norwich is also on average half-an-hour shorter than the journey to Worcester.
"Ironically, MPs for the Norwich area argue that Norwich needs a better rail service, while businesses and residents in Worcestershire would be delighted with that level of service."
During their meeting Mr Luff argued for the Evesham and Worcester line to be redoubled, and called on the Government to find funds for Worcestershire Parkway station.
He also said a vital link in the chain will be to redouble the line from Charlbury to Oxford, saying that will allow a knock-on for services to Worcestershire.
Oxford Station is about to be remodelled but due to high engineering costs, that particular link is not part of the plans.
Mr Luff said: "This would be a disaster and leave Worcestershire with irregular, long and often delayed services for decades more."
Last month your Worcester News revealed how the county council has hit out at poor links from the county to London, saying current services are “an albatross around Worcestershire”.
Last year’s failed bid to secure £7 million of Government cash for Worcestershire Parkway, in Norton, is now being revisited by the council.
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