TOURIST chiefs hope the doubling of direct trains between Stratford and London Marylebone will provide an economic boost.
Direct trains between Stratford and the capital in both directions have increased from three to six on weekdays.
Additional services also run on weekends. Saturday now has four direct trains from London to Stratford, with five trains running in the other direction, and five direct trains in each direction on Sunday.
Chiltern Railways commercial director Eleni Jordan said: “We’re delighted to make these improvements to our Stratford-upon-Avon service and these additional services mean the number of direct services between Stratford and London each week more than double.
“We were delighted that so many organisations were able to join us at the official launch event, emphasising how we work closely with the local community in Stratford.
“We hope that the more frequent direct journeys will inspire lots of people to take journeys both to and from Stratford.”
Philippa Rawlinson, director of operations and marketing at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT), welcomed the extra trains.
She said: “Stratford-upon-Avon has a long history of welcoming visitors as the birthplace of William Shakespeare, with tourism being one of the key drivers for our local economy.
“We welcome the increase of direct rail services between London Marylebone and the town, offering convenient transport links to and from the capital which supports economic growth, attract new investment and jobs, and stimulate innovation as we strive to remain a must-visit destination all year round.”
At the launch at Stratford station on Monday, James Anderson, an actor with SBT’s own acting troupe Shakespeare Aloud, performed excerpts from As You Like It and Sonnet 18.