Government to explore opening mid Cheshire and airport rail links ….

Posted on December 30th, 2017, by The Chairman

Following much hard work by MCRUA and others, the Department for Transport is set to examine reopening the Mid Cheshire Rail Link with business leaders, following pressure from the Government’s deputy chief whip.

A working group is set to be formed by the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and officials from the DfT at the request of Paul Maynard, rail minister, after lobbying from Tatton MP Esther McVey.

Ms McVey is also pushing the DfT to explore the Airport Western Link, which would provide faster connections between Northwich, Knutsford and Manchester Airport.

An article in the Northwich Guardian spotted by Andrew Macfarlane summarises this nicely.

We will be working hard to ensure the group has access to all the studies we have on recommencing services from Knutsford and Northwich through Gadbrook Park, Middlewich and Sandbach to Crewe, as well as resurrecting the proposals from the early-90s to connect the Airport railway station to the Mid Cheshire Line near Mobberley as originally envisaged when the station was built.

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  1. vince chadwick Says:

    Re-opening the Middlewich line to passenger services is surely a no-brainer. Even with the proposed new stations (or at least one at Middlewich) it shouldn’t cost too much (though NR are not known for being efficient or able to manage projects successfully).

    The Airport Western Link is a different challenge. This would require a great deal of civil engineering to tunnel beneath the Airport and construct a new railway to link with the Mid Cheshire Line. It would not be cheap, even without NR’s excessive overheads. However, it would form a new strategic link in the national rail system which would have positive effects on the railway beyond local considerations.

    Trains bound for the north from the Airport could avoid the busy Airport – Manchester section of the Styal LIne, and the Manchester bottleneck of the Piccadilly – Deansgate corridor, using a new Western Link. On the other hand, it could be argued that they do that today if the Middlewich line was upgraded and a chord put in at Sandbach, the trains routing via Wilmslow and Middlewich to gain the WCML northbound at Hartford.

  2. mike james Says:

    reopening the line through Middlewich is fairly easy
    What you need is some TOC which wants to run the trains
    and in my mind they will merely take trains from other routes
    so it may be good for Middlewich but not for the rest of us

  3. Peter Says:

    Network Rail would need to undertake some work before we can have passenger services on the Middlewich branch. Most notably there’s no station at Middlewich! While sourcing a couple of extra units now might be an issue, post-2020 it should be easier as the Anglia and West Midlands franchises will both have Class 170 Turbostars surplus to their requirements.

  4. Simon Barber Says:

    The business case for the Mid Cheshire Rail Link, including the anticipated construction work and the services that might use it, is published and available on the MCRUA website thanks to the efforts of our friends in Middlewich. It would be worthwhile on its own but coupled with the Airport Western Link it becomes very powerful – it gives the Mid Cheshire towns a new fast route to Manchester and creates a new independent route from Piccadilly to Sandbach, almost all the way to Crewe. Northern has indicated to MCRUA that they would like to operate trains through Middlewich once the infrastructure is in place.

  5. Tim W Says:

    Would love to have a direct link to the airport from Knutsford particularly as airport car park prices have risen dramatically recently. Will it happen in my lifetime and will there be a train to check in at 4 am for the morning flights to Mallorca?! Hand baggage only , of course!

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