Wrexham & Shropshire: Second to none

Published: 10:38AM Mar 17th, 2011
By:

Loved by its passengers, sadly it just couldn’t entice enough of them to travel. January saw Deutsche Bahn cease its Wrexham & Shropshire open access operation after less than three years of service. Mark Darby was on hand to record the major milestones of the short-lived company and provides a selection of his favourite shots here.

Wrexham & Shropshire: Second to none

On the morning of May 14th, 2008, just two weeks after the new services began, WSMR-liveried No. 67013 (later named Dyfrbont Pontcysyllte) roars up the single-track chord at Aynho Junction leading the 1P03 07.25 Wrexham General to London Marylebone. EWS stablemate No. 67028 tails the four-coach train of Cargo-D Mk. 3 stock.

FOR the residents of Wrexham, April 28th, 2008, was a momentous occasion as fledgling open access operator Wrexham, Shropshire & Marylebone Railway commenced passenger services.

Providing a long sought after direct train to London, WSMR passed some of the most varied countryside in the UK, including the beautiful Chilterns and the urban surroundings of Birmingham, depositing its valued customers at the fine old Great Central terminus at Marylebone, now the focus of Chiltern Railways’ empire.
The service boasted and consistently delivered ‘Grand Comfort’ travel, coupled with the finest locally sourced refreshments, to provide the passenger with a product that was exemplary.

As well as its customer-pleasing attributes, there was plenty for the enthusiast to enjoy in Wrexham & Shropshire’s new operation. The Anglo-Welsh service heralded the return of regular locomotive-hauled workings to the main Chiltern route for the first time in decades, DB Schenker Class 67s being the preferred motive power, with Derby’s still outstanding Mk. 3 the coaching stock of choice. The test runs saw an eclectic livery mix of EWS GMs top ’n’ tailing with hired Cargo-D carriages. As Mk. 3b Driving Van Trailers were finally outshopped from Axiom Rail, Stoke-on-Trent, the second Class 67 was stood down, the trains being formed as push-pull sets with the locomotive at the Marylebone end.

Unfortunately, the privatised railway is less than friendly to open access operators, which are seen as removing revenue from the franchised train companies. It is a shame that WSMR’s fresh and dynamic service should be met with such a forest of obstructions, including ridiculous pick up and set down restrictions. While the red tape was partly to avoid open access from ‘cherry picking’ prime routes, the complex arrangements left the travelling public completely bemused. If that wasn’t bad enough, Wrexham & Shropshire was launched amid the backdrop of the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression of the 1930s!

After just over two years and 10 months of operation, the inevitable occurred and WSMR’s owner, which by this point was DB Regio, decided that enough was enough and that the loco-hauled service was unlikely to ever break even. Friday, January 28th was the last day of service, with the last train being the 1J84 18.30 Marylebone to Wrexham, which was worked by No. 67013 Dyfrbont Pontcysyllte.

Responses to “Wrexham & Shropshire: Second to none”

Current Issue: August 2016

Issue August 2016

High-speed GCR: Could the former main line be a low-cost alternative to HS2?
Paddington IEP: GWR shows off the first Class 800 to receive its green livery
'Westerns' to Falmouth: The complete story from the long hot summer of 1976
Shunters' day out: KWVR celebrates Class 08 fleet - cut-down cab loco hauls first-ever passenger train
40 pages of modelling: Nuclear '31s' - profiling the 1980s locos; Unique wagons - rare pictures of one-offs; 4-TC IN 4mm - push-pull set unveiled
Class 68s start with Greater Anglia
Brexit threat to rail funding

PLUS:

Buy this issue now

• Next issue on sale: August 18, 2016

Issue 243

Issue 243
August 2016

Essential reading for today's rail enthusiast

Subscribe and get this issue

Buy it now

facebook

Other News

First all-electric train debuts on GWML

First all-electric train debuts on GWML

The Class 800 IEP worked between Reading and Didcot on July 16 and 17, 2016, under its own power for ...

Read More »

Freightliner Poland names first 'Dragon'' locomotive

Freightliner Poland names first 'Dragon'' locomotive

It's not British, but it's certainly impressive. Freightliner Poland has taken delivery of its first six-axle electric 'Dragon' locomotive with ...

Read More »

View all...

Advertisements

Related magazines:

Heritage Railway magazine The Railway magazine Old Glory magazine

Use our handy tool to find your nearest stockist!
Find your nearest Stockist

Advertising Deadline:

September 2016 - 5th August 2016
October 2016 - 1st September 2016

Book advertising here

Next Issue Out:

August 18, 2016

Advertisements