A RAIL group is pushing for an extra hourly train service to be added at Northwich and Greenbank stations to improve connectivity in Mid Cheshire.
Members of the Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association and Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership have produced a report detailing the benefits an extra service would bring.
The report suggests a second hourly train to Manchester and Chester, stopping only at the busiest stations, would help reduce overcrowding on peak services.
“The proposal is that the current hourly all-stations service should continue essentially unaltered,” it states.
“A second hourly train should run Manchester to Chester calling at principal stations only – Stockport, Altrincham, Knutsford, Northwich and Greenbank.”
John Oates, chairman of the MCRUA, added: “For Northwich and Greenbank with over 400,000 passengers a year, it’s about time the train service was improved to give passengers what they want – a fast reliable service towards Manchester and Chester running every half hour, and with one of those half-hourly trains missing out the lesser used stations providing improving connectivity between our area and nearby towns and cities.”
Omitting stops on potential extra trains could cut 12 minutes off journey times from Northwich to Manchester, making the commute 45 minutes.
The study explains passenger growth over the last few years has led to overcrowding at peak times and says a two-trains-per-hour service would also help improve access to employment, especially in Manchester.
It does suggest, however, the implementation of two trains an hour is likely to need the Northern Hub project, or a less attractive option of running extra services as far as Stockport.
“This will attract considerable extra passengers and the extra capacity will address overcrowding on some existing services,” the report adds.
“The two trains per hour timetable offers sufficient capacity to deal with rush hour overcrowding, but full implementation is likely to require the Northern Hub.
“In the meantime an interim solution is needed to deal with current rush hour overcrowding.”