A PASSENGER group is hoping that Northern services through Northwich will be strengthened amid disruption on a nearby line.

The West Coast Mainline will be close near Warrington for 16 days from Saturday, July 20 – as track, cabling, overhead lines and signalling are upgraded at the busy Acton Grange junction.

Acton Grange is used by more than 260 trains every day and – while services through Hartford and Acton Bridge will not be affected – Mid Cheshire Line trains are expected to be busier.

John Oates, chairman of the Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association (MCRUA), said: “This 16 day planned blockade is part of £27m being invested in the Great North Rail Project to bring outdated track and equipment up to modern standards.

“If you are travelling from Crewe to the north, you can expect delays as some trains are diverted via Manchester Piccadilly and Wigan, other trains are cancelled or a replacement bus services is in operation between Crewe and Warrington or Preston.

“If you are travelling from Warrington Bank Quay, our advice is to travel from either Wigan or Preston depending on your destination.

“Because the services on the Chester to Manchester line via Helsby, Frodsham and Warrington Bank Quay are replaced by buses, many passengers may choose to travel on the Mid Cheshire Line into Manchester with a knock on effect of these services being very busy.

“MCRUA has alerted Northern’s local management to this and we are very hopeful that the Mid Cheshire Line services will be strengthened.

“Rail users should note that these engineering works do not affect the Crewe to Liverpool service via Winsford, Hartford and Acton Bridge.

“As usual, MCRUA advise passengers to check their timetables very carefully before they travel during this period.”