Stoke & Staffordshire

Anger over cuts to rail services from Staffordshire stations

A West Midlands Rail train Image copyright West Midlands Rail
Image caption West Midlands Railway Ltd will take over the London Midland franchise in December

News a direct rail service to London will soon not stop at some stations in Staffordshire has prompted anger.

From December, Crewe to London Euston services, currently operated by London Midland, will not call at Alsager, Kidsgrove, Stoke-on-Trent and Stone.

Stoke-on-Trent Labour MP Ruth Smeeth said she was "beyond angry". Others fear it could harm Stoke's chances at becoming 2021 City of Culture.

There will still be a direct Virgin service from Stoke-on-Trent to London.

New connecting services will call at Alsager, Kidsgrove, Stoke-on-Trent and Stone, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.

"I am beyond angry that we're here yet again, but this is built on lies yet again from the government," the MP for Stoke-on-Trent North said.

"We were promised the Midlands Engine, we were promised the Northern Powerhouse - both of those things go out of the window every time they have an announcement."

Image copyright Google
Image caption Direct rail services from Alsager to London Euston will finish. Additional connections to Birmingham and Crewe will call at the station

The Crewe to London Euston service is currently operated by London Midland, but this will switch to West Midlands Trains Ltd in December.

A DfT spokesman said Staffordshire would benefit from a range of new services as well as long trains.

"We consulted widely, and passengers from Stoke will continue to have a 90-minute service to London.

"They will also be able to get services to the capital from Stafford.

"In addition, we are introducing a new hourly service to Birmingham New Street for people in Stoke-on-Trent, Stone, Kidsgrove and Alsager. There will also be improved evening and weekend services."

'Value for money'

News of the cut to the direct London service from those stations has triggered many comments on social media.

Stoke-on-Trent city councillor Joy Garner said: "No HS2 and fewer services, especially to London.

"This one was slower than Virgin but fantastic value for money. It was our train of choice whether we used Stoke or Kidsgrove."

Judy Gorton agreed saying: "Disgusting! Come on City Council do something. City of Culture? Not a chance! Not everyone can afford Virgin prices."

But Dave Harley said: "These trains are rubbish anyway. To get to Crewe for the Stoke friendly it was actually quicker to go to Derby and nip over the platform to Crewe."

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