THE number of rail passengers using Whitchurch railway station has dramatically increased, thanks to an improved service especially over the last two years.
Useage of the station has increase by 79.3% over the last 12 years of record keeping - overall countywide rail usage has risen by 49.4% over the same period.
Mike Gallacher, who reports on transport matters to the Town Plan Implementation Committee, said that Whitchurch currently has the best service it has ever had, which is reflected in passenger numbers.
“In the last 10 years the service has slowly improved, but over the last two years it has really improved with increased frequency of services to Manchester and Cardiff,” he said.
“There are still a few gaps, but on the whole we can say that the increase in passenger useage correlates with the increased service.
“Overall, all Shropshire stations have generated a 50% increase in passenger numbers between 1999-2012.
“Wem has also seen an improvement, but Whitchurch has done very well. I feel more people are communting from the town - the Manchester train coming in in the evening is busy.”
The Crewe and Shrewsbury Passenger Association (CASPA) has lobbied for a better service for Whitchurch over many years, and continues to do so.
The total number of journeys from Whitchurch between 2011-12 is 108,331, compared to 103,980 in 2010-11.
In 2007-8 there were 89,439 journeys made, and from in 2003-4 60, 737 journeys and in 1999-2000 60,388 journeys.
Rail passenger throughput figures between 2011-12 reveal that 72,810 journeys were made from Whitchurch and 35,521 journeys to Whitchurch, a total of 108,331 journeys.
The average number of journeys on a weekday is 346, an increase of 4.18% on 2010-11. This data includes both Arriva Trains Wales and London Midland services.