Train operating company Wrexham & Shropshire has today announced that it is to cease operations – on the day that it was crowned by passengers as the country’s best rail operator.
The company said that it will stop operations, running between Wrexham, Shrewsbury and London on Friday 28 January.
The operator, which is owned by German state railway operator Deutsche Bahn, said it had investigated all possible alternatives but had decided to close the service as it had “no prospect of reaching profitability”.
The service launched in April 2008, restoring direct train services between Wrexham and London for the first time in 41 years. The company was awarded a 99% customer satisfaction score in rail watchdog Passenger Focus’ benchmark National Passenger Survey in autumn 2010 - the highest score ever recorded. In the most recent survey, published today, the service has the top passenger satisfaction rating among Great Britain’s train operators at 96%.
The company’s chairman Adrian Shooter said that shareholders had invested more than £13M in launching the business and funding its losses, but had “now concluded that there is no reasonable prospect that Wrexham & Shropshire can become profitable, or offer a return on this investment”. In 2010 alone, it suffered losses of £2.9M.
The company said it is not insolvent nor is it being placed in administration and all outstanding financial commitments will be met. Alternative employment opportunities within the railway industry are being sought for the 55 employees, and all staff wages and full redundancy entitlements will be paid.
The company’s last train will be the 6.30pm train from London Marylebone to Wrexham General on 28 January.