THE OPENING of a new multi-million pound railway station in the county could spark an uncertain future for services at Pershore’s station.
Worried councillors and residents have claimed the opening of the £17.5million Worcestershire Parkway station in 2017 could lead to a reduction of train services serving the town.
The ground-breaking project will see the station built in Norton near the junction of the M5 and serve both the Cotswold Line between the county and London and also trains between Bristol and Birmingham.
Town councillor Julian Palfrey said the creation of the Worcestershire Parkway station was needed but said it was vital to ensure services in Pershore are maintained now and in the future.
“I don’t think the Worcestershire Parkway is a threat to the whole future of the station (Pershore’s) but it is a threat to the quality level of service it provides,” he told the Observer.
“There is general feeling among politicians and train companies there is a need for a station in Pershore and with hundreds of extra homes to be built the station is a major part of Pershore’s infrastructure moving forwards.
“There’s a need to keep exisiting services and make sure the new trains serving the station from next year are used.”
This week has seen Pershore’s MP Harriett Baldwin intervene to prevent four services being axed from next year’s proposed timetable.
The MP has been in discussions with train operator First Great Western over their proposals to amend the services on the Cotswold Line between Worcestershire and London from next May.
The discussions involve giving the county a faster train to London in the morning and a more efficient service back to London at lunchtime.
“The initial proposals suggested that some totally unacceptable changes were being proposed for Pershore and I was strongly resistant to this plan.” she said.
“We all want faster, more reliable and more frequent trains, but this must not be at the expense of services in Pershore.”
Mrs Baldwin’s intervention follows a campaign from Cotswold Line Promotion Group (CLPG) in a bid to protect services run at
A First Great Western spokesman insisted the firm’s proposals were drawn up based on feedback from a public consultation.
“The plans, which have been put forward for consultation and broadly agreed with by the CLPG, are about balancing the needs of all rail users,” he said.
“With complex timetables, inevitably you cannot improve service for the majority of users without having an impact on some others.
“Responding to the views of the CLPG during the consultation process, two stops were reintroduced from the original plans put forward.
“What we seek to do is to deliver the greatest overall benefit for the communities we serve.” he added.