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Losses derail UK train service adored by customers

Losses derail UK train service adored by customers

The Wrexham & Shropshire was one of Britain's most popular rail services, but love didn't pay the bills. The last train left town on Friday.
The service was one of only three in Britain that operated without a government subsidy, and it had a reputation for good food and attentive service _ enough to put it at the top of the most recent national rail survey with 96 percent of passengers satisfied.
However, it failed to satisfy its owners, including Germany's Deutsche Bahn. The service, which had dwindled from five trains to three trains a day, lost 2.8 million pounds ($4.46 million) in 2010 and more than 13 million pounds in all since starting up in 2008, the company said.
The final train is set to leave London Marylebone (MAR-leh-bone) station Friday evening, bound for the northern Welsh town of Wrexham.
"Even though we are forced to close the business, we remain extremely proud of what we have achieved," said company chairman Adrian Shooter, a board member of DB Regio UK Ltd., the Deutsche Bahn subsidiary that operated the Wrexham service.
Christian Wolmar, a respected rail analyst and historian, said the Wrexham & Shropshire was "a great little service, a kind of throwback to the best of British Rail," the former nationalized rail service.
The service restored a direct link between London and the northern Welsh town of Wrexham for the first time in 41 years, and served 11 points in between. Wolmar said the operation's "ridiculous constraints" by regulators restricted stops at two major cities on the route, Wolverhampton and Coventry, to protect other operators.
The RMT rail union said taxpayers had invested 1 million pounds in infrastructure improvements in Wrexham, which is now left "to potentially rot into the ground."
The union's leader, Bob Crow, called the closure "a bitter blow to the U.K. rail industry."
"It is a scandal that a giant company like Deutsche Bahn can play fast and loose with our rail services in this way and then and cut run when they decide the profit margins aren't fat enough for their liking," he said.


Updated : 2021-04-12 21:47 GMT+08:00