IT IS HOPED the introduction of a train service between London and Stirling next summer will boost tourism while giving passengers more choice.

Stirling Council chiefs welcomed an announcement today by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) for a new train service by Grand Union Trains to open between the two cities.

It comes as plans by Grand Union Trains to introduce four new return services per day between London Euston and Stirling stations has been given the go ahead.

These services will also call at Milton Keynes Central, Nuneaton, Crewe, Preston, Carlisle, Lockerbie, Motherwell, Whifflet, Greenfaulds and Larbert.

It means Larbert, Greenfaulds and Whifflet will receive their first direct services to London.

The ORR found that the proposed services would increase choice for passengers, significantly increasing direct journey opportunities to and from London and central and southern Scotland, while making use of existing capacity on the network.

Stirling Council leader Chris Kane explained that the announcement adds to Stirling's reputation as “one of the best-connected cities in the country by rail”.

He said: “Last year we met with Grand Union Trains to hear their exciting plans and made clear our support for this proposal connecting us into London.

“With four new return service per day this new link is good for business.

“It is also good for tourism to encourage many more visitors into our area to enjoy everything that the city of Stirling and the wider Stirlingshire area has to offer, especially as we celebrate our 900th anniversary this year.”

The services will be the first run by an open access operator on the West Coast Mainline.

Open access operators run services independently of government funding as they do not have a franchise agreement with government.

Stephanie Tobyn – ORR director of strategy, policy and reform – said: “Our decision helps increase services for passengers and boost competition on Britain’s railway network.

“By providing more trains serving new destinations, open access operators offer passengers more choice in the origin and price of their journey leading to better outcomes for rail users.”