FEARS over the future of rail services to Pershore have been taken up by the town council.

Mayor Bob Gillmor has written to the managing director of Great Western Railway's managing director Mark Hopwood about fears that the number of trains calling there may be cut.

The fears were fuelled by an article in the magazine Modern Railways, which quotes Mr Hopwood as saying that "some Pershore calls may have to be taken out of the timetable to make way for a Worcestershire Parkway stop".

The latest approaches follow representations from the 1,700-strong Cotswold Line Promotion Group and the Vale Public Transport Group to ensure that Pershore, as the second largest town on the line between Worcester and Oxford, shares in the benefits of the January 2019 timetable upgrade.

Both groups have campaigned for the planned hourly services to London on the line to call at Pershore, in view of the massive growth in housing development - much within half a mile of the station - and the significant growth in passenger numbers.

Figures for 2016/7 released by the Office of Rail Regulation show that Pershore's growth, at 3.2 per cent, was the highest of any Cotswold Line station between Worcester and Oxford.

Pershore's existing services of 16 daily trains to London and 17 in the opposite direction is currently guaranteed by service level commitments laid down by the Department for Transport.

Campaigners also highlight the fact that the passenger growth has been achieved despite the total lack of progress by Great Western Railway and Network Rail over a 15 year period to achieve extra car parking provision at Pershore station.

CLPG publicity officer Julian Palfrey said: "Pershore needs to benefit from the hourly London services, not only to cater for London traffic, but also for the growing number of local passengers not well served by peak hour gaps in the timetable to/from Worcester.

"Hourly services would also allow Pershore rail users proper access by rail into north-south services from the new Worcester Parkway station and reduce the amount of traffic on narrow roads leading to the site."