Free Town Shuttle Bus from Northwich Station ….

Posted on August 24th, 2010, by Vice Chairman

Northwich now has a FREE shuttle bus service connecting Northwich Rail Station with the Bus Station and town centre. The new service runs for a six week pilot phase from 20 September and is one of the first projects to be initiated by the new regeneration partnership for Northwich – ‘REGENERATE NORTHWICH’.

The service, affectionately known as The Northwich Nipper runs every weekday from 8.30am until 4.00pm shuttling continuously between Northwich Rail station, the Bus station and the town centre.

The service provides a quick and convenient connection for commuters, visitors and employees of businesses in the town. It also provides a complimentary drop off and pick up service for shoppers at all of the town’s major supermarkets including Aldi, Co-op (Somerfield), Lidl, Sainsbury, and Tesco.

The pilot scheme, initiated by Regenerate Northwich, is being financed by funding from Northern Rail, Northwich Town Council and Cheshire West and Chester Council.  It is also being supported by BusyBus, the service operator.

The Northwich Regenerate Team

Mike Cooksley the Chair of Regenerate Northwich said ‘When the partners came together to form the Partnership our intention was to get things done and make a difference in the town and improve things for the people of Northwich. This is the first step to doing exactly that; hopefully getting Northwich back on its feet and to be followed by a number of further initiatives and projects that will kick start the town’s regeneration. This initiative demonstrates, even at a time of financial constraint and difficulties, what can be done with the support of local organisations, local people and businesses working together. It’s a ‘Win Win’ situation for everyone concerned, not only is there a direct benefit to the town’s businesses but a real tangible benefit to commuters, visitors, shoppers and local communities. Hopefully it will assist in tackling the problem of congestion and issues around the environment by providing a quick, convenient and FREE public transport service.’

Mark Barker, Client & Stakeholder Manager for Northern Rail, who manage ther station, said ‘We’re extremely proud to be a partner of Regenerate Northwich. We are committed to providing sustainable transport opportunities, not only through our rail services but also in helping our passengers with their journeys to and from the station’.

Arthur Neil, CEO of Voluntary Action Vale Royal added ‘This is a great example of multi agency working. The Town Council lit the touch paper with its community engagement committee and now we have what should be a shot in the arm for the town supported by public, private and voluntary sectors. Let’s hope it’s just the first of many successful new initiatives for Northwich.’

Northwich MP, Graham Evans commented “This really is fantastic news for Northwich. This new free service will not only provide a big boost for local business, but it will make the lives of commuters much easier. I look forward to trying out the ‘Northwich Nipper’ for myself. I hope that this is the first of many great initiatives from Regenerate Northwich, to help our area become an even better place to live, work and shop.’

Please leave a comment

  1. Lord Harry of Sodor Says:

    A welcome initiative and long overdue. Hopefully there will be enough publicity to make people aware of this new free service. If successful, hopefully in time the hours of the service will be extended to cover Saturday and Sunday and the Monday Friday peak periods.

  2. Black Five from Rhyl Says:

    This is music to my ears!

    Pardon the pun – Nipper was the dog used on “His Master’s Voice” Record label and is still the mascot for HMV Records today

    Lord Harry is correct. For the Northwich Nipper to be a success, it needs to have a marketing campaign that matches its need. Continuity of this service is what is required.

    Will the service be only available to Rail Travellers or can it be used within Northwich to travel between the supermarkets?

  3. The Vice Chairman Says:

    Black Five … Good to hear from you.

    You will be pleased to learn that the Northwich Nipper is available to all, although priority will be given to Rail Passengers arriving at Northwich Railway Station.

    I am also told, the Northwich Nipper will stop right outside the Supermarket’s door … not a couple of hundred yards away at the local bus stop!

  4. Edd Says:

    Really good idea. If it’s successful then I’m sure a similar scheme would be of use in Winsford.

    Just reading this made me think of an auadacious ‘Ashley interchange’ scheme with buses from Ashley station to Manchester Airport and Tatton Park which connect with the train services.

  5. Morris Minor Says:

    Nice to see Lord Harry passing comment about The Northwich Nipper, running around the town from the station.

    Obviously he does know of other stations apart from his beloved Greenbank.

    The comment from Edd, also stirred the old brain cell, regarding a rail link from Manchester International Airport to the Mid Cheshire line.

    Dreaming again, Minor, take a detention.

  6. Harveyrat Says:

    Nice idea re an Ashley Interchange but so few people use Ashley Station – why is that?

  7. Edd Says:

    Harveyrat – only 261 people live in the parish of Ashley and there’s no bus services for people to arrive or depart from the station on if where they are going/starting from is not within walking distance of the station.

  8. Edd Says:

    Going back on topic to the Northwich Nipper, if it’s launching in two weeks then isn’t it time Cheshire West & Chester Council and Northern Rail put details on their respective websites?

  9. Harveyrat Says:

    Thank you Edd – Ashley is obviously a very small parish but I still would have thought that more people would use the line from Ashley.

  10. Harveyrat Says:

    Re the Northwich Nipper – all information will shortly be available through the Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership website – and I’m sure also on MCRUA pages too.

    Traveline also have the details now and leaflets will be distributed to stations too.
    0871 200 22 33 is the Traveline number or

  11. The Chairman Says:

    The “Northwich Nipper” post is updated, together with a picture of the launch – see above ….

    Any similarity between the bus used on this service and that used on the Chester Zoo free bus service that ran until the day before is entirely uncoincidental!

  12. Old Codger Says:

    I am glad I have not grumbled before now, because I was convinced the “Nipper” was doomed to failure.

    Apart from a newspaper article and the MCRUA / Mid-Cheshire Rail websites, the only information on the service has been a poster and a leaflet. The leaflet said it was a half-hourly service, but only departing the station at 35 minutes past.

    I thought most supermarket shoppers came by car so they could fill their boots, so a tour of all the supermarkets would be a waste of time and you could probably walk to the town centre just as quickly. When Northwich has one of its spectacular traffic jams, the Nipper would be stuck.

    Why not go just between the railway and bus stations, and perhaps the hospital? You might manage a half-hourly service then.

    Anyway, I had my first ride today and it only took 10 minutes to the town centre. The driver said passenger numbers were increasing and he was continuing the service for another 6 weeks, and traffic congestion was no problem.

    To clarify, the service is hourly, but, at the driver’s discretion. He does a quick “short” trip direct to the bus station after the train arrives from Manchester at 12 minutes past. I don’t know what is planned for next week, but I guess you will read it here first!

  13. Jen Says:

    What has happened with this now? There seems to have been no announcement anywhere as to whether the trial was successful or not.

  14. Mark Barker, Northern Rail Says:

    Jen, I’m pleased the trial was regarded as a success.

    The maximum number of passengers conveyed in a week was over 100 and growing, but it was felt that with better promotion the number could be trebled.

    It was felt best not to rush into continuing the trial but to seek to find funding in 2011/12 for longer run. We will be following this up shortly.

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