LUDLOW and south Shropshire will benefit from a direct rail link between Shrewsbury and London.

This is the view of Ludlow MP Philip Dunne after Virgin Trains confirmed that they will start a service at the end of the year.

The train operator has announced plans to run daily services between Shrewsbury and London from December 2014.

Virgin Trains is now submitting a request to the Office of Rail Regulation to allow two return services a day Monday through to Saturday and one return service on Sundays.

“There has been widespread support for this rail link, which I and other Shropshire MPs have campaigned for since first elected,” said Philip Dunne.

“We, with Shropshire Council, have arranged many meetings between operators, network rail and ministers to try and make it happen.

“So I really am pleased that this service will go ahead from December. The economic benefits of a direct rail link will help my constituents, connecting Shropshire better and showing those looking to invest here that the county is open for business.”

The link comes as Virgin Trains signed a new franchise agreement with the Department of Transport for services on the West Coast Main Line. The contract comes into force on June 22 and runs until at least March 2017.