One of Bill’s longest-standing campaigns has been the improvement of rail services in North Herefordshire. In the past he has helped to secure disabled access at Leominster Station and in 2012 he held a consultation on the new Rail Franchise at Ledbury Station. Bill regularly petitions the Government for improved services in North Herefordshire.
In 2014, Bill contributed to the Great Western Franchise consultation with your views. You can read his full submission below:
I would like to contribute some suggestions to the Great Western Rail Franchise Consultation based on the concerns that my North Herefordshire constituents have contacted me about, as well as my own.
I believe the objective of the consultation should be to ensure the Hereford to Paddington Service is regular, reliable and timely.
Please also ensure that trains from Herefordshire go to Birmingham international rather than Tamworth or some other hub.
I do not feel that the proposals in the consultation take into account the current sparse service from North Herefordshire (Hereford, Ledbury, Colwall) into London.
The rural nature of the North Herefordshire area, served by Hereford, Colwall and Ledbury stations makes these destinations incredibly inaccessible in the absence of regular services to both London and Birmingham.
I have been contacted by constituents, who have moved close to local train stations, in order to enjoy both the rural location and links to the West Midlands, but who are now constantly forced to use different routes due to a lack of regular service.
I am sure that the service pattern could be greatly improved from what is currently available and what is proposed in the consultation.
The service that my North Herefordshire constituents require is an hourly train from Hereford to London Paddington and back again.
In addition, an increased amount of services at peak times are needed from Hereford and a later last service, preferably departing London Paddington around 20.30, as currently the last train to that stops at Colwall and Ledbury, and arrives on the same day, departs at 19.22.
Currently the later service, which departs from London Paddington at 20.22 ends at Malvern which is deeply unhelpful, this service needs to push on through to Hereford.
I was very concerned to read in section 7.10 of the consultation a commitment to an hourly service from Worcester to London Paddington but with a commitment to only five daily extensions to Hereford.
Please ensure that the commitment made to the hourly service continues right through to Hereford.
Further services that my constituents have contacted me concerning, include those from Hereford and Worcester to Birmingham International.
A direct service to Birmingham is not always available and has not been committed to by the West Midlands Route Utilisation Strategy.
I believe a commitment to direct trains to Birmingham are essential to ensuring proper connections to the West Midlands.
In addition I believe my constituents need to see a commitment in the consultation that the new Intercity Express Trains will be used on the Hereford to London link, bringing with them increased speed and capacity.
If further developments are to be considered within the franchise I believe particular attention should be paid to redoubling of the Cotswold line through to Hereford, as the single line is currently inhibiting the desired service to these stations.
Even a passing place beyond Ledbury would allow an hourly service from Hereford on to Paddington.
In summary, please change the fact that the earliest train does not stop at Ledbury or Colwall which it should.
The latest train, needs to go right through to Hereford, rather than stopping in Malvern. This service needs to run regularly instead of intermittently. Those who live in Colwall, Ledbury and Hereford need to be able to get home in the evenings.
Please ensure the Hereford to Paddington Service is regular, reliable and timely. Please also ensure that trains from Herefordshire go to Birmingham international rather than Tamworth or some other hub.
Thank you very much
Bill Wiggin MP