A Rugby-based campaign group is celebrating ahead of the start of additional railway services for the town, which will include a link to Blackpool.
From Monday, May 21, there will be six daytime departures from Rugby to North-west destinations, restoring a link that was severed in 2008.
Stephanie Clifford , chair of Rugby Rail Users Group (RRUG) said: “At long last, Rugby Rail Users Group welcomes the provision of regular direct express train services from Rugby down the Trent Valley line to Preston and Blackpool.
“We at RRUG have campaigned long and hard for these changes, with great support from Mark Pawsey MP, and Andy King before him, and I think we can be proud of the changes we have brought about.
“For passengers from Rugby, this means more, faster connections, with the added bonus of making seaside days out to Blackpool available.
“For the future, RRUG will of course continue to push to sustain and improve our train service, specifically to campaign for better weekend train times and longer trains to cope with the increasing number of passengers.
“I commend the new North-west trains to Rugby passengers, and I hope they are successful.”
The extra services come after the completion of electrification to Blackpool, which prompted Virgin Trains to introduce three new through trains between London and Blackpool North.
The trains will call at Rugby, then Warrington, Wigan, Preston and Blackpool North.
Rugby MP Mark Pawsey said: “One of Rugby’s greatest strengths is our excellent rail service and in particular our 50-minute journey time to London Euston.
“However, many of my constituents have asked me about improving travel to the North-west and the Rugby Rail Users Group has been campaigning to secure these services for many years.
“I am delighted that Virgin is continuing to invest in Rugby by bringing these new services which will create greater opportunities for local residents, as well as broaden the town’s tourist appeal for those travelling from further afield.”
To learn more about RRUG, visit rugbyrailusersgroup.org.uk