WORCESTERSHIRE'S first new railway station in more than 100 years officially opened its doors for the first time yesterday.

Worcestershire Parkway, which is the product of many years delay and setbacks, is finally open for business after more than 30 years of planning.

Rail staff, councillors and passengers arrived early to see the arrival of the first train into the station, the 08.29 to London Paddington.

Matthew Golton, interim managing director of Great Western Railway, said he was excited the station was finally open and that he hoped it would be a boost to the county's economy.

He said: "It has been 30 years in the planning and taken a lot of work to get here, it is very very exciting.

"This station is going to be served by GWR and Cross County Trains and there are going to be 60 services every day to places like London, Nottingham and Cardiff.

"This station is about putting Worcestershire on the map from a rail connectivity point of view - it is going to make a big difference to local journey and being able to get in and out of the county quickly."

Mr Golton also praised Worcestershire County Council for their work in developing the site and getting the station up and running, adding: "It is really important to pay tribute to the county council for their vision to have this station here.

"Worcestershire is a really important county so it is important people can get here quickly."

Now it is open, Worcestershire Parkway features 500 parking spaces, including electric charging points, and Mr Golton said he hoped the station would soon be on its way to serving more than 250,000 passengers a year.

Worcestershire Parkway is the subject of many years development and planning.

Originally proposed more than 30 years ago, it wasn't until 2007 that Worcestershire County Council first set aside £3million to go towards the project.

At the time, planners said it would be many years before the station actually materialised.

Plans for the station were finally submitted in 2015 with promises that Worcestershire Parkway would be up-and-running by autumn 2017. This was then changed to mid-2018 and opening dates were continually pushed back.

Worcestershire County Councillor Ken Pollock said he was delighted to see the station open, and that he was impressed with the appearance of the finished building.

He said: "It is a very smart looking building, lots of glass and metal and it is an attractive place.

"I am looking forward to seeing hundreds of people coming through here - It is quite remarkable that three years ago we first cut the sod outside and it has obviously taken longer than we would have liked, but now to have the whole place ready to go and the first train arriving is tremendously exciting.

"It is one of the funny things that we have had this cross country line running north to south through the county for years with the trains not stopping here.

"At the moment we have got the Cardiff/Nottingham trains stopping here as well as the London services, but I hope we can eventually get the Plymouth/Aberdeen services and others.

"This station provides a great advantage in that is saves people having to drive into the middle of Worcester where there is virtually no parking at Foregate Street and Shrub Hill."

Mid-Worcestershire MP Nigel Huddleston also arrived to see the first train stop, and he said it was a vital boost to the county.

He said: "It is amazing thinking of how in the last two years it has gone from a building site to the finished site - it is great.

"I think connecting Worcestershire is a key point - you and I and all my constituents know Worcestershire is a great place to live and this station will really help with the expansion of the county as well as boosting both business and tourism."