Wednesday, 26 January 2011

So. Farewell WSMR!

This from Chiltern chairman, Adrian Shooter...

It is with great regret that I am writing to tell you that we are intending to close the Wrexham & Shropshire railway company.

This has been a very difficult decision to take, but having thoroughly investigated all possible options, we feel there is no alternative but to cease operations

I am sure you are aware that the unprecedented economic environment has severely delayed the business’s move into profit. While we have worked extremely hard to increase passenger numbers, a loss of £2.8m was made in 2010 and it has been concluded that the potential for further changes to the company’s operations, including any synergy with Arriva Trains Wales, will not improve the financial position sufficiently, and there is no prospect of reaching profitability.

It is therefore intended that the service will cease on Friday 28th January 2011.

Any passengers who have already booked tickets for travel after this date will be offered alternative travel.

I must make it clear that Wrexham & Shropshire is not insolvent nor is it being placed in administration. The shareholders have ensured funding to ensure that all outstanding financial commitments can be met and all suppliers will be paid in full.

Alternative employment opportunities within the railway industry are being sought for employees, and all staff wages and full redundancy entitlements will be paid.

We are already seeking to find alternative employment within the railway industry for our staff.

We also intend to hold a recruitment fair at Wrexham on Tuesday 1st February.

Even though we are forced to close the business, we remain extremely proud of what we have achieved with Wrexham & Shropshire; with many stating that we set the standard for all other train companies to follow.

Our people are central to this and we believe they are some of the very best in the industry.

Their unfailing attention to detail and their sincere, personal interest in passengers has become the Wrexham & Shropshire way.

They are the reason we achieved 99% customer satisfaction in the National Passenger Survey of Autumn 2010, the highest ever recorded.

I would like to pay tribute to Andy Hamilton, Managing Director, and everyone in the Wrexham & Shropshire team.

UPDATE: This from today's Passenger Focus press release on the Autumn 2010 Passenger Satisfaction figures...

The highest ratings for overall satisfaction were achieved by Wrexham & Shropshire (96%) and Grand Central (95%). First Hull Trains, Heathrow Express and Merseyrail all had 93% of passengers satisfied.

Is this what is called 'going out with a bang'?