THERE has been a breakthrough in a bid to secure a rail link between Ludlow and London.

Hope is increasing that a service from Shrewsbury to the capital will be introduced next year.

Although the service would not go directly from Ludlow it would enable people who make the first leg of their journey to Shrewsbury to do a day’s work in London and get home on the same day.

The link if it happens is regarded as something that could create a major boost for the economy of Ludlow and south Shropshire.

Good infrastructure links are regarded as a key element in economic growth and it is the relative isolation of Ludlow that is beloved to be a key issue holding back the prosperity of the area.

The breakthrough came after talks between Ludlow MP Philip Dunne and representatives of Virgin Trains that hold the rail franchise to run the ‘high speed’ link to London.

Philip Dunne met with train bosses as part of a delegation of members of parliament from Shropshire.

Virgin Trains have confirmed that they have applied to the Office of Rail Regulator to run a twice daily round-trip service on the new timetable, commencing in December this year.

“This was a very positive meeting and I am hopeful that we will finally see a sustainable direct rail route between Shrewsbury and London,” said Mr Dunne.

“I have stated before that any service must operate at commercially viable times, so I am pleased that this service would have times departing Shrewsbury at 6.39am and 3.54pm, and departing London at 10.20am and 6.23pm.

"The route would have an approximate three hour journey time, stopping at both Telford and Wolverhampton.

“This route could bring economic benefits to the whole of Shropshire, and reflects the determination of secretary of state for transport Patrick McLoughlin to provide residents in Shropshire with a service that would allow them to do business in London for the day, or stay overnight and return at convenient hours the next day.”