Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association

Your voice for the Manchester to Chester, Crewe to Liverpool and potentially Northwich to Crewe via Middlewich railway lines

Latest News & Events


    16th July 2019 - 18th August 2019

    The Mid Cheshire Line Art Exhibtion opens at the Weaver Hall Museum in Northwich on Tuesday 16th July....

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    There are Music Trains planned for June and July including a lunchtime special....

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    10th June 2019

    Sally Buttifant, our former rail officer has been honoured with an MBE .....

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    10th June 2019

    Engineering work on Mid Cheshire Line at end of June ....

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    13th May 2019

    Rail passengers gearing up for new train timetables rollout this Sunday ....

    Read More


    14th May 2019

    Two Mid Cheshire 'Music Trains' lined up for May ....

    Read More

Your Guide to Ticket Essentials


Trains on the Mid Cheshire Line are operated by Northern.

The trains have only standard class seating and no seat reservations can be made.

You can buy tickets on the day of your journey or in advance. Tickets are dated, so if you buy them in advance (for example, the day before you plan to travel) you need to say which day you want to use them. Otherwise they will be dated for the day they are issued.

There are no Advance fares for most journeys on the Mid Cheshire Line trains like there are some long distance journeys, so the price of the ticket is not usually affected by whether it is bought in advance or on the day of travel.


Single journey – the only ticket available for most journeys is an Anytime Day Single, valid for one day. Off-Peak Day Singles are available from Chester and Mouldsworth to Stockport and Manchester and from Plumley, Mobberley, Ashley, Hale, Altrincham, Navigation Road, Stockport and Manchester to Chester.

Advance Single tickets are available for some journeys from Manchester to Chester or vice versa. Advance Singles can be significantly cheaper but they are only valid on the train journey you specify when you book. You must be making the whole journey. You cannot, for example, buy an Advance Single ticket from Manchester Piccadilly to Chester and then start at Navigation Road. Advance tickets are not refundable or transferable to another journey.

Returning the same day –buy an Anytime Day Return, an Off-Peak Day Return or a DUO (if two people are travelling together off-peak). These types of ticket must be used for out and return journeys on the same day.

Anytime Day Returns are valid for journeys at any time of the day.

Off-Peak Day Returns are valid for outward and return journeys starting after 0900 between any two stations on the Line from Monday to Friday and at all times on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays except that:

- for journeys which start and finish between Hale and Manchester Piccadilly (inclusive) they are only valid for journeys which start between 09:30 and 16:00 (inclusive) or after 18:29.

(For example, Altrincham to Mobberley Day Returns and Mobberley to Stockport Day Returns are valid from 0900 and you can return on any train the same day. However, Altrincham to Stockport Off-Peak Day Returns are only valid from 0930 and you cannot start your return journey from Stockport between 16:01 and 18:29)

DUOs are return fares for two people travelling together. They are available between any two stations on the Line for journeys starting after 0900 from Monday to Friday and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays except that:

- they are not available for journeys, which start and finish between Hale and Manchester Piccadilly (inclusive).

- they are not available on Saturdays and Sundays in December

       - on Mondays to Fridays (except Bank Holidays) DUO return journeys from Manchester,
         Stockport, Navigation Road, Altrincham or Hale must start by 16:00 or after 17:59.

The price of a DUO is equivalent to a 25% discount off the normal Off Peak Day Return. No Railcard discounts are available on DUOs.

Returning within a month - if the single fare is about £11 or more, an Anytime Return will be available and cheaper than two singles. The outward half of the ticket is valid for 5 days and you can break your outward and return journey.


Season tickets - are available for a week or for any period from a month to a year. See Season Tickets and Educational Season Tickets for information.

Child fares (for children aged 5-15) are generally 50% of adult fares.

Railcard fares are generally 2/3 of adult fares (ie 34% off). Visit the National Rail Railcard website for full details of eligibility and validity.

Railcard restrictions

All Railcards are not valid for through bookings to Metrolink

Senior, Disabled and Family Railcards - Railcard fares apply at all times except that there are peak time restrictions in South East England

Two Together Railcards - Railcard fares apply after 0930 from Monday to Friday and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

16-25 Railcards and Forces Railcards - Railcard fares apply: (1) after 10:00 from Monday to Friday; (2) for tickets costing more than £12 at all times; (3) all day on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays and in July and August.

Railcard and child discounts do not apply to DUOs.

Residents of Cheshire West and Chester Council and Cheshire East Council can buy Senior Railcards and Disabled Railcards at a discount – see their websites for details.

Group tickets

Northern may give discounts for groups of ten or more. For details please call 0845 1243 345 from 0900 to 1700 Monday to Friday. For adults without railcards the discount is similar to the discount for a DUO, so DUOs are often more convenient if you can use them.


For journeys on the Mid Cheshire Line from Chester to Manchester inclusive, you can download a fare table for each station from its page on this website. Just click on the Stations tab on the top black toolbar. Northern’s website will give you the fare for any journey in Great Britain.

Details of all fares on the rail network and the conditions that apply to them are available from www.brfares.com  You can also find them via the National Rail website but then you first have to choose which train you want to take and the various alternatives are not as clearly presented as on www.brfares.com 


Before you start your journey at a station with either:

- a ticket office, which is open, or
- a ticket machine which accepts cash and sells the ticket you need

you must have a valid ticket or travel pass before you start your journey and you risk prosecution if you travel without one. If you avoid using a ticket office when it is open or a ticket machine that accepts cash when it is working and sells the ticket you need, the conductor will charge the full Anytime Single/Return fare without Railcard discounts.

Ticket offices

There are ticket offices at Chester, Northwich, Knutsford, Hale, Altrincham, Stockport and Manchester Piccadilly. Opening hours vary – see the national rail website www.nationalrail.co.uk  or the station page on this website. Their staff are very knowledgeable and can sell all types of ticket.

Ticket machines

There are ticket machines at Chester, Greenbank, Northwich, Knutsford, Stockport and Manchester Piccadilly which sell most types of ticket. At Chester, Knutsford, Stockport and Manchester they accept cards and cash and give change. At Greenbank and Northwich they only accept cards.

On the train

If you get on the train at an unstaffed station or the ticket office is closed or the ticket machine accepts cash but cannot sell the ticket you need - you should buy your ticket from the conductor on the train.

Conductors can sell single and return tickets to all destinations with railcard discounts. They can also sell Wayfarers and some Day Ranger tickets. They can sell renewal weekly season tickets if you already have a photocard. Payment can be by cash or credit or debit card but not by Electron or Solo.


You can buy tickets online from Northern in advance at northernrail.org. Northern do not charge a booking fee or credit card fee. First class postage is free – but you have to order several days in advance to allow time for the tickets to arrive. You can also pick them up from a ticket office or a ticket machine. If you want to buy a DUO then you need to ask for fares for two adults (or another even number of adults).

If you are travelling on a longer journey eg to London (with Virgin from Stockport or Chester) or Cardiff (with Arriva Trains Wales from Stockport or Chester) then you may get a cheaper Advance or special offer ticket from the website of the company providing the main part of the journey.

Watch out for credit card, booking and postage fees on some sites – for example the Trainline.com website charges fees. If you go through the National Rail website it will generally route your ticket purchase to a train company serving the route you are enquiring about. Train company websites generally do not charge card or booking fees but may charge for postage.

By phone

You can buy tickets over the phone from Northern (0800 200 60 60) and other train companies. Watch out for credit card, booking and postage fees on some sites – Northern do not charge them. Northern will post your tickets to you first class without charge if you order at least seven days in advance.

By smartphone

You can now buy train tickets on your smartphone anytime, anywhere with the free Northern mobile app.

Northern’s mobile app helps you to travel in the North of England and even elsewhere in Great Britain if you want. You can:

• Plan and buy tickets for any train journey
• View information for any train service
• Let Northern know about any faults on a Northern station or service

When you buy tickets with the app there are no booking fees, no credit card fees and no delivery fees. You can buy all the tickets that are available on Northern’s website and all at the same prices, knowing that the app automatically finds the best fares for your journey. You can reserve seats on longer journeys and can now have most tickets delivered straight to your phone, or collect them from over 1,000 stations. It’s easy and they’re ready to collect within 15 minutes. 

Click below for how to the Take the Train on the Mid Cheshire Line


This information is about the Mid Cheshire Line and its services (which run from Chester to Manchester via Altrincham and Stockport). 
It has been prepared by members of MCRUA (Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association) for the Community Rail Partnership.
There is much more information about Northern’s services on their website www.northernrailway.co.uk
Timetables for the Line are available at station dispensers, ticket offices and for download from Northern. 
The Mid Cheshire Line leaflet gives details about places to visit along the Line and is available at ticket offices and to download.