TRAIN operator Wrexham & Shropshire, which links Banbury with Telford, Shrewsbury and North Wales, is to stop operating on Friday.

The company, which began life in April 2008 as an open access operator, running without a Government subsidy, said it had "no prospect of reaching profitability".

The announcement was made today, just as W&S was named the top train operator in the country in terms of customer satisfaction, scoring 96 per cent in a survey by the watchdog body Passenger Focus.

A company spokesman said: "Wrexham & Shropshire is not insolvent nor is it being placed in administration and all outstanding financial commitments will be met."

Wrexham & Shropshire employs 55 staff, most based in Shrewsbury and Wrexham.

The company is jointly owned by Chiltern Railways' parent company Deutsche Bahn UK and Renaissance Trains, which also has a stake in another open-access operator, Hull Trains.

It blamed an "unprecedented economic environment" for the closure.

Chairman Adrian Shooter added: "Regrettably, we have concluded that the potential for further changes to the company's operations, including any synergy with Arriva Trains Wales [recently taken over by Deutsche Bahn], will not improve the financial position sufficiently.

“The shareholders have invested in excess of £13m in launching the business and funding its losses, and have now concluded that there is no reasonable prospect that Wrexham & Shropshire can become profitable, or offer a return on this investment."

The last train to be operated by the company will be the 6.30pm from London Marylebone to Wrexham General on Friday, which is due to call at Banbury at 7.34pm.

  • Passengers holding W&S tickets for travel after Friday will be able to use them on alternative services. For more details, see the W&S website or call 0845 260 5200.