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Train improvements down the line?
A NEW tram/train system is in the ‘very early’ stages of being considered for the Mid Cheshire line, which could see more services connecting the areas towns and villages with Manchester.
The Department for Transport, earlier this year, approved a pilot of tram train technology in the Sheffield area, which is set to get under way in 2015.
The Mid Cheshire line, which currently sees one train an hour travel from Northwich, Lostock Gralam, Cuddington, Greenbank and Plumley to Manchester, could be a beneficiary if bosses at Transport for Greater Manchester and the DfT deem the Sheffield pilot a success.
The tram/train system is popular in part of Europe, including Germany.
But the Mid Cheshire Line faces strong competition from the Marple line in Stockport in its bid to be the first tram/train system in the north west if the pilot proves to be successful.
Clr Andrew Fender, who is the Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee: “We’ll be watching Sheffield’s Tram Train pilot very closely as we have begun work to understand whether this technology could be deployed within Greater Manchester.
“Tram Train could combine the advantages of the better access to the city centre our Metrolink tram system provides with the reach of the rail system into neighbouring districts.
“It has the potential to both improve public transport for passengers while also making our local rail services more cost-effective.”
Sally Buttifant, the Mid Cheshire Community rail officer, said: “We are always pushing to improve the service for our Mid Cheshire passengers.
“There has been quite a lot of dialogue but it’s in the very early stages.
“We are talking but there is so much going on at the moment in the rail field, such as the Northern Hub and the Northern Rail franchise, which is coming up in 2014.”
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