A LONG-AWAITED date for the opening of the heavily delayed Worcestershire Parkway has still not been confirmed, as the latest timetables reveal direct trains to London will not be leaving the station until at least mid-May.

Worcestershire County Council said it will be revealing the opening date as soon as it can but whilst building work at the £22 million pound station has finished, thorough and lengthy tests still need to be completed before it can open.

The latest National Rail timetables show trains stopping at Worcestershire Parkway between Gloucester and Birmingham from February 2 having been pushed back on several occasions already.

Worcestershire Parkway's place on the timetables has moved December 18 last year to January 27 to this weekend.

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Setbacks to the station's opening date in the last two months come after years and years of delays.

Promises were made that Worcestershire Parkway would initially be up-and-running by autumn 2017 then changed to mid-2018 and opening dates have been pushed back and back ever since.

Despite breakthroughs in the last couple of years in actually getting the station built, it comes as a culmination of decades of talks and work dating back to at least the 1970s.

At the end of last year, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), which regulates the safety of country's railways, said it had not yet received the relevant independently verified documents from Worcestershire County Council or from SLC Rail, who is managing the scheme on behalf of the council.

ORR said it was standing by waiting for the information so it could give the green light for the station to finally open.

As a result of the latest delays, Great Western Railway (GWR) has been advising its customers who had booked tickets to claim refunds or travel from other nearby stations.

Councillor Ken Pollock, cabinet member for economy and infrastructure said: “Construction of the station is complete. We are nearing the conclusion of the standard rail industry, rigorous “Entry into Service” process where all the new equipment and facilities are being been tested and commissioned ahead of final sign off for the station to become operational.

“We will confirm the station opening date as soon as we can.”