Middlewich line – Campaign Update

Posted on May 13th, 2013, by The Chairman

Dave Roberts, Chairman of the Middlewich Rail Link Campaign writes ….

“Work continues behind the scenes aimed at bring forward the re-opening of the Middlewich line to passengers and the building of a new station to serve Middlewich and the surrounding area.

“Our MP Fiona Bruce is still working tirelessly on our behalf, and presented the Parliamentary petition calling for the re-opening of the line and station on the 20th March. She followed this up by writing to the Rt. Hon. Simon Burns, the Railways Minister, making him aware of the tremendous support the re-opening scheme has, both among the people of Middlewich and councillors and officials at town, borough and regional levels. These representations were backed up by letters making similar points from Cheshire East Council and from the Middlewich Rail Link Campaign.

“Our main concern at the moment is still the perceived reluctance of Network Rail to talk about the scheme. That organisation’s assertion that ‘the proposals have been looked and there is not a sufficient business case’ needs to be challenged and corrected. As far as we are aware NR have not looked into the proposals at all, and their attitude remains that they will not do so until enough money has been put on the table to enable the scheme to progress through the GRIP process.

“We are heartened by the fact that the Department for Transport has offered to provide advice to Cheshire East Council, whose responsibility as the local transport authority it is to progress this scheme. This is something that Cheshire East has stated that it is very keen to do, as the benefits for Middlewich and the wider area of the re-instatement of this link make it of vital importance for the regeneration of the town and a considerably wider catchment area.

“Our hope is that the Middlewich proposals will be considerably more advanced when the Government decides to make more money available for schemes such as ours.

“Recently Network Rail’s Director of Network Strategy and Planning published consultation documents on the long-term planning of the network in order to achieve: ‘economic growth, reduced carbon emissions and improved quality of life for communities and individuals.’ Fiona Bruce immediately identified this as an opportunity to raise the campaign’s profile within Network Rail and she has written to NR’s Director of Network Strategy and Planning reminding him of the existence of the Middlewich proposals, which will do all this and more for this area, and asking for his help in getting NR to look at the plans and talk to Cheshire East about them. MRLC will also be writing a letter supporting what Fiona Bruce says.

“To sum up, we are more confident than ever of the eventual success of our campaign and will continue to do everything we can, in conjunction with our very enthusiastic local MP and Borough Council, to ensure further progress.”

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  1. The Chairman Says:

    Andrew Macfarlane writes:

    “I’ve just received my latest copy of Branch Line News, the journal of the Branch Line Society and it mentions that Virgin Trains are diverting passenger trains via Middlewich on Sunday 16th March. The trains involved are the 11.54, 12.40, 13.50 and 14.35 from Chester and the 10.02 from Crewe.”

  2. Simon Barber Says:

    I see that the Crewe-Chester line is closed next week, May 12-16, for drainage works at Christleton tunnel. The ATW Chester-Crewe service is suspended and almost the whole Virgin Trains service is running via Middlewich (a few VT trains are not running at all, and a few are running via Warrington BQ with a reversal there, which is a faster diversion but evidently a route without much spare capacity.) The times are showing on http://www.opentraintimes.com now. Worthy of note is that many of the Voyagers are being timetabled to cross in the Middlewich loop, with the Euston-Chester train timed to wait for 15 minutes (from xx15 to xx30 most hours) whilst the southbound train runs through non-stop at xx26. There are will be ECS and freight workings too. All in all a busy week for the Middlewich link with some good photo opportunities at the loop and at Northwich West and South junctions.

  3. Jen Says:

    It seems re-opening of closed railway lines and stations are included in two political party’s manifestos – the Lib Dems and Greens are both promising it. The Lib Dems are also saying they’ll restore twin-track lines where routes have been reduced to single track in the past. Hopefully those policies do get implemented during the next parliament even if neither the Lib Dems or Greens are likely to have a majority at the next election.

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