On a busy first day back in Parliament Worcester’s MP, Robin Walker, held a meeting with the MD of Great Western Railways to keep up the pressure for a two hour journey time between Worcester and London and to remind him why this is such a key priority for the city.
At the end of last week Robin met with the Chamber of Commerce to discuss tourism in Worcester and agreed with them and the LEP that improving Worcester’s rail links is a key objective for business and tourism alike. The two hour objective has also been supported by Worcester City Council and Worcestershire County Council and has become known as the Fasttrack Worcester campaign.
Mark Hopwood, the MD of GWR came into Parliament last Tuesday to discuss their latest proposals and shared a presentation in which they set out a firm baseline for their service by the end of 2018 to include a more regular hourly service between Paddington and Worcester and at least one fast train to Worcestershire Parkway station which would get there in two hours as well as station and car park improvements elsewhere along the line. More importantly they shared their official vision to achieve two trains per hour between Paddington and Worcester of which one would be fast so that journey times could be regularly brought down to under two hours. This is something that Robin and other local MPs have been pressing for over a period of years and it is the first time that it has officially featured in the company’s presentations.
GWR want to work with local MPs, councils and business groups to press the case for further dualling of the line between Worcester and London and targeting the upgrades so that they can have the maximum impact on journey times. They have also promised to seek to improve performance and to stop at the new Worcestershire Parkway Station once it is up and running.
Both Robin and Nigel Huddleston MP asked PMQs about this campaign in the last year and both have had positive responses from the Prime Minister as well as meetings with Rail Ministers and the companies involved to press the case.
Commenting on his meeting on the first day of Parliament in 2016, Robin said:
“I was pleased to see my long term campaign for a faster connection between Worcester and the capital being reflected in GWR’s own presentations. It is exciting to see what was once just an idea and an objective of the Cotswold Line promotion group coming one step closer and being pressed for by so many organisations.”
“Worcestershire MPs have worked closely to press the case for a faster service over many years and I am grateful to my neighbours Nigel Huddleston and Harriet Baldwin for consistently raising the matter as well as to Sir Peter Luff for all his work on this over the years. Its been wonderful to have the support of the Prime Minister too and I am hopeful this will help to make our ambitions a firm reality. I know from speaking to business groups and tourism businesses the boost that it would give to investment in Worcester if we could secure a two hour service and I am determined to press for this to be delivered as soon as humanly possible.”
Notes to editors:
Robin last raised this campaign in March 2015, just ahead of the suspension of Parliament for the 2015 election, his question can be found here:
His neighbour, Nigel Huddleston used his first ever PMQ of the new Parliament in June to press the case for redoubling and his release on this can be found here:
Harriett Baldwin, the MP for West Worcestershire has also raised the matter with the Prime Minister and welcomed his support for redoubling in September last year:
Robin has spoken up for a better service for Worcester on a number of occasions and held a dedicated debate on the matter with rail Minister Claire Perry, details of which can be found here:
The Prime Minister has previously supported efforts to improve the line and details can be found here: