A CAMPAIGN to reopen a vital link in the mid Cheshire rail network has received enthusiastic backing from Northwich councillors.

The Mid-Cheshire Rail Link Campaign is calling for a line between Northwich and Crewe via Middlewich and Sandbach to be brought back in action in the light of the regeneration of the north.

The eight-and-a-half mile stretch between Northwich and Sandbach closed to passengers in 1960 and there has been a continuous campaign in Middlewich for it to be reopened since the 1990s.

Cllr Andrew Cooper, from Northwich Town Council. outlined the campaign at the latest meeting of Northwich Town Council and urged the council to support it.

"The benefits of reopening the line for Northwich are numerous," he said.

"Our town centre regeneration is ongoing and in future will be a massive draw for the surrounding area, in particular the cinema.

"Young people travel in from miles around to our two sixth form colleges and our Catholic high school, who would be able to come in by train.

"Traffic and parking issues at Gadbrook Park have reached dangerous levels.

"There are regularly cars queuing along long stretches of the bypass in the morning, and double parking is a particular issue around the day nursery.

"Gadbrook Park is short of around 1,000 parking spaces.

"In the last couple of weeks it has finally been confirmed that Crewe will indeed be one of the stops for HS2.

"Reopening the line will give Gadbrook Park and Northwich town centre a direct connection to this service."

Cllr Tony Lawrenson, also a Witton and Rudheath councillor for Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: "As someone who comes from Rudheath the problem with Gadbrook Park is huge.

"A lot are parking all over the side streets in Rudheath, which is absolute chaos.

"A railway line and station would be a great help for the district."

The line is currently used for freight and occasionally the Liverpool to London train is diverted along it when there are works at Winsford.

Cllr Kevin Rimmer, Northwich's deputy mayor, said: "Anything that can help and aid public transport can only be a good thing."

The council agreed unanimously that it would support the campaign and nominated Cllr Cooper as its representative on the campaign group.