A RAIL users’ association acting as a go-between for passengers and operators on the Mid Cheshire Line has pledged ‘wholehearted support’ in improving facilities at Greenbank.

As reported in the Guardian last month, MP Mike Amesbury and Northwich Town Council members have called for Northern to take action at the station, which serves the Chester to Manchester route.

Recent figures show that it is the busiest unstaffed station on the Mid Cheshire Line, with a huge number of its 241,000 passengers a year students travelling to the Greenbank area.

The station serves The Grange School, St Nicholas Catholic and Hartford high schools, and Warrington and Vale Royal College.

John Oates, chairman of the Mid Cheshire Railway Users Association, said: “MCRUA are proud to have negotiated with the former Northern Rail the ‘Educational Season Tickets’ for these schools, which provide up to 50 per cent saving on the normal child season ticket fare for under 16s and a 30 per cent discount off the normal adult season ticket fare for 16 to18 years old.

“We have been victims of our own success and are now asking the DfT, Network Rail and Northern to improve facilities at Greenbank.”

The Victorian waiting room at Greenbank was demolished last year, having served passengers since the 1860s, and was replaced with a bus shelter-type design without consultation.

Mr Oates said: “It is ironic that back in the 1960s, the station had a station master, ticket clerk, porter and there were waiting rooms with seats and a roaring fire in winter.

“Whilst investment in the rail industry has increased significantly this has not led to greater customer satisfaction. This will only be achieved when the rail industry considers its passengers and the needs of the community.

“The replacement shelter is smaller, exposed, and six months later we are still waiting for the replacement of the Customer Information System, notice boards and litter bins.

“This type of action sees the local community losing confidence and trust in the rail industry.

“The solution to the current problems is for the rail industry, rail users and the local community to work together and make our railway and its stations the engine of success in our community rather than of endless complaints.”

Mike Amesbury said: “MCRUA has got a long history of success championing the rights of rail users in my constituency.

“The issues around Greenbank aren’t just ones of convenience but of safety too, especially when you have so many young people coming to and from school using the station.

“Since I raised the fact I’d written to Northern about this, I’ve been contacted by several constituents who’ve raised further concerns with me about the station. This is something I’ll be very happy to work with MCRUA, the town council, schools and partners on to try and get a resolution.”

Cllr Kevin Rimmer is a regular Greenbank station user, and has posed questions to Northern, asking why the community was not consulted and what the reasons were for the change.

Raj Chandarana, stakeholder manager at Northern, said: “We are committed to improving our stations and facilities for customers across our network and are in the middle of a multi-million pound modernisation scheme to make this happen.

“We are grateful for the feedback from customers and stakeholders in Northwich and, as a result, are currently exploring options for further improvements at Greenbank station which, we know, is vital for the community.

"We will, of course, seek to consult with the local community before further work is undertaken.”