Study hints at boost to mid-Cheshire rail services

The neglected mid-Cheshire line between Manchester and Chester through Knutsford is the subject of a new study jointly commissioned by Transport for Greater Manchester and the two Cheshire councils.

The Mid-Cheshire line runs from Manchester to Stockport and Chester passing through Altrincham, Knutsford, Northwich and Delamere. Currently it is only served by a Northern Rail 'stopper' visiting more than a dozen stations and the journey from Manchester Piccadilly to Chester takes nearly an-hour-and-a-half.

Nevertheless, the volume of passengers using the line increased by 66% between 1998 and 2010. Current figures show it continuing to increase annually at a rate of 10%.

The study will last until April and will focus on journey times, timetable improvements, stations and stops, in addition to infrastructure.

It is being carried out by JMP Consultants with funding for the project provided by Transport for Greater Manchester, Cheshire West & Chester Council and Cheshire East Council.

TfGM and both councils are part of the Mid-Cheshire Community Rail Partnership, which aims to promote and enhance rail services in the area and is made up of 10 stakeholder bodies.

Cllr Andrew Fender, chairman of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: "The Mid-Cheshire line is a key commuter rail route in the North West, with passenger numbers growing year on year as the statistics show. It is therefore very important that services meet passengers' needs and support economic growth along the corridor between Manchester and Chester.

"By carrying out this study along with our partner organisations, we hope to come up with proposals that could improve services for passengers and help develop the line's potential.
"Any enhancements to the line would also complement the half a billion pounds being invested in the region as part of the Northern Hub project, which TfGM very much welcomes."

Your Comments

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I bloody hope so

By Mush

Let’s have those two journeys which terminate at Stockport in the AM, and start from there in the PM extended to Piccadilly. Also get on with re-opening Middlewich station. Then think about a Chester-Leeds service via Stockport and Stalybridge.

By Peter Thompson

I agree that more should be made of the "by-pass" crossing of south Manchester to access Stockport and the east and reinvigorate the line via Denton. We need more of this kind of thinking that opens up new cross country routes. One day we might think of reopening the line via Bakewell and Matlock to access the Peak and Derby more efficiently too.

By Bob Bracegirdle

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