Special departure marks 40 years of trains to London - The Evesham Observer

Special departure marks 40 years of trains to London

Evesham Editorial 9th Jun, 2019   0

FOUR decades of London trains serving Pershore was marked in a special celebration at the town’s revived station.

Former town mayor David Griffths, who flagged away the first London train in June 1979, joined present Mayor of Pershore, Coun Chris Parsons, to give the ‘all clear’ to the anniversary train – the 11.13am from Pershore to London Paddington – at the ceremony on Saturday (June 1).

There was a special surprise for Ann North who is planning to retire after running the popular Doorsteps Catering establishment at the station for around 20 years. She was presented with a special bouquet of flowers on behalf of local rail users by Coun Parsons.

Town crier Robert Speight welcomed visitors and announced the trains at the event which was organised by the Vale Public Transport Group (VPTG) and the Cotswold Line Promotion Group (CLPG).

Music with a rail theme was provided by local jazz musician Dutch Lewis while First Midland Red, who used to run regular services between the town and the station, displayed a bus decked out in former livery.

Pershore’s station only just survived the cutbacks of the Beeching era in the 1960s when many local stations and branch lines were closed.

But following track singling and further rationalisation was, by 1979, it was served by only four daily trains for commuters to and from Worcester and with no services to London.

A return service to London was introduced by British Rail on a trial basis on Saturday, June 2, 1979 and within a few weeks as many as 50 to 60 people were using the service for a day out in London.

Campaigning by the CLPG and steadily growing demand from the second largest town on the line between Worcester and Oxford has led to many further improvements over the years. Now Pershore has a total of 31 daily trains – with virtually all the London trains calling at the station.

“Pershore station provides a much-needed lifeline for many people for both business and leisure,” said Coun Parsons.

“The CLPG are to be congratulated for all they do in their work with the various service providers. The Class 800 trains are a great improvement providing a most enjoyable journey with both comfort and cleanliness.”

Town MP Harriett Baldwin said: “I want to offer my congratulations to the Cotswold Line Promotion Group for marking this anniversary and continuing their work to speak up for local rail users.

“It was great to see so many people coming to Pershore to celebrate the anniversary of restoring services to the town. I will continue to campaign with them for better, faster, more frequent services and better facilities at Pershore station.”

She has also offered her support to the North Cotswold Line Taskforce which is identifying a strategy to re-double sections of the track which are currently single-line between Oxford and Worcester.


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