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The Hollywood effect: Wrexham lines up three-hour direct rail service to London

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The town of Wrexham, propelled into the spotlight by its recent Hollywood-meets-football phenomenon with Wrexham AFC co-owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, is poised to become even more accessible with a new direct rail service to London.

Alstom, a prominent train manufacturer, is leading the initiative to establish the Wrexham, Shropshire, and Midlands Railway, offering travelers cheaper and more comfortable trains for a direct journey to London’s Euston station. This three-hour route aims to provide a greener alternative to private jets and make travel to and from the Welsh borders increasingly appealing.

One of the key selling points of this service is the avoidance of a layover in Birmingham, as trains will navigate around the Midlands city using a less-utilized freight route. This opens up new travel connections from Shropshire to Warwickshire and beyond, providing convenience for passengers.

Pending approval from the rail regulator, the ORR, the proposed service plans to operate five trains daily starting from May 2025. Operating on an “open-access” basis, the service falls outside the major train operating contracts set by the Department for Transport.

Rail Minister Huw Merriman praised the proposals, highlighting the benefits of competition in delivering choice for passengers and improving standards in the rail industry. A similar open-access plan for a London-Stirling route in Scotland was recently approved by the ORR, indicating a broader trend towards expanding rail services.

The new Wrexham service aims to serve not only Wrexham but also other communities currently underserved by rail in Shropshire and the West Midlands. By utilizing the west coast mainline to Euston, the service promises faster journey times compared to its predecessor, which operated from Marylebone terminus.

While the celebrity connection with Ryan Reynolds adds a touch of glamour to the project, Alstom emphasizes the broader rail links that the service will facilitate, enhancing connectivity between various regions.

The official launch of the service underscores Wrexham’s significance in this endeavor, reflecting the town’s newfound momentum and the commitment to improving rail connectivity in the region.

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