A RAIL passenger group has reaffirmed its commitment to bringing back better access at Northwich station.

Level access to the Chester-bound platform at Northwich was removed a number of years ago – with the platform now only accessible via steps – and is no closer to a return having missed out on the latest round of funding announcements.

The ‘Access for All’ scheme last week awarded funding to 73 UK stations – including Handforth – to sort out access issues.

A town councillor explained earlier this year that securing the funding for Northwich would require an expensive business case to be prepared.

The Mid Cheshire Railway User’s Association has backed the campaign to reinstate the access, which was raised in Parliament by MP Mike Amesbury.

MCRUA chairman John Oates said: “Ever since it was removed by Network Rail some years ago, MCRUA has supported and continues to support the endeavours of Northwich Town Council to return better access for all at Northwich railway station

“We know the solution to this will not be cheap, but it is important that rail users with pushchairs, wheelchairs or mobility issues are looked after well.

“With a town the size of Northwich it is inexcusable that they should be expected to put up with such poor facilities. It is ridiculous to expect them to have to travel to Greenbank and return to Northwich on the next available train as this can add nearly an hour to their journey.”

Cllr Andrew Cooper told a meeting earlier this year that studies worth around £20,000 would be necessary to make the case, and that the improvements would likely coincide with another major project – possibly even the proposed reopening of the Middlewich branch.

Widely-backed plans for the Middlewich branch, backed by councils and other bodies, would see a passenger service reopened between Sandbach and Northwich, bringing a new Gadbrook Park station and reopening the Middlewich station closed in the 60s.