Middlewich link – Comment on Network Rail Regional Urban Market Study ….

Posted on July 31st, 2013, by The Chairman

From Dave Roberts, Chairman, Middlewich Rail Link Campaign


I am writing this comment in my capacity of Chairman of the Middlewich Rail Link Campaign (MRLC), having read with interest the draft version of the Regional Urban Market Study.

MRLC, which has been in existence since 1992 and is run under the auspices of the Mid-Cheshire Rail Users’ Association (MCRUA) campaigns for the re-opening to passengers of the Sandbach-Northwich Branch line, together with the building of a new station at Middlewich.

Our local MP, Fiona Bruce is a keen supporter of the Middlewich scheme and, earlier this year, presented a parliamentary petition on the subject. She followed this up by writing to the Rt Hon. Simon Burns, Minister of State at the Department of Transport pointing out the merits of the scheme and the undoubted benefits it would bring to Middlewich, the County of Cheshire and the North-West region. This was followed up by letters making similar points from Cheshire East Council and ourselves.

The report, commissioned by MRLC and published in 2009, clearly shows the viability of the scheme, as did the earlier Chapman Report, also commissioned by the campaign. Middlewich in general, and the immediate vicinity of the proposed new station in particular, contains many potential commuters who work in the Manchester area and are currently obliged to travel by car into the city on the A556, due to the lack of a train service. The scheme also, we should point out, falls within the criteria stated in the introduction to your draft document, in that Middlewich is less than 50 miles from Manchester (less than half that distance, in fact) and, as the Railway Consultancy report shows, has the potential to generate a considerable number of journeys daily, both by commuters and leisure-seekers.

The scheme’s cost/benefit ratio is 5:1, far in excess of what is needed for the scheme to merit serious consideration. Fiona Bruce recently wrote to Richard Eccles reminding him of the existence of the Middlewich scheme and pointing out that it fits in perfectly with the aims of 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.’

Cheshire East Council, as our local transport authority, is very keen to see the Middlewich scheme go ahead and will, no doubt have made its own representations to you on the subject.

We would submit that the Middlewich scheme should be seriously considered by network planners, as it has so much potential to help Network Rail achieve its aims as set out in the draft Regional Urban Market Study.

Dave Roberts
Middlewich Rail Link Campaign

Please leave a comment

  1. Mike Battman Says:

    Who was the letter to??

  2. Dave Roberts Says:

    Hi Mike,

    This is not a letter, but an e-mail response which I posted on the Network Rail site in direct response to the Regional urban Market Study. I do, however, intend to follow this up with a letter to Richard Eccles, Director, Network Strategy & Planning at NR, in the near future to expand on the information in Fiona Bruce MP’s letter to him which merely reminded him of the existence of the line and its potential. Sorry for the confusion. Dave Roberts, MRLC

  3. Mike Battman Says:

    Thanks Dave

  4. The Chairman Says:

    Judie Collins has spotted a good article in the Knutsford Guardian pushing the Middlewich Link – http://www.knutsfordguardian.co.uk/news/13709274.Knutsford_councillor_urges_residents_to_support_ongoing_train_campaign/?ref=eb

    If you’re a Tatton constituent, why not write to George Osborne as Cllr Andrew Molloy suggests, or if not in Tatton write to your own MP.

  5. The Chairman Says:

    Harry Boardman sends this link spotted on the BBC News – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-34537991

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