Friday, 26 July 2013


Network Rail has been seeking comments on its draft  Regional Urban Market Study which considers ways in which the railway network can be improved and developed in the future.
It will come as no surprise that plans to re-open the Middlewich line and provide a new station in Middlewich fit NR's aspirations like a glove.

Here's a link to the draft version of the study on the Network Rail site:


As you will read in the comments (see below) which we have just sent to Network Rail, both Cheshire East Council and Fiona Bruce MP are still working hard on our behalf to convince Network Rail  of the simple truth of the matter - that the Middlewich scheme is affordable, viable and vital for the future development of Middlewich, Cheshire (both East and West), and the North-West Region.
Unfortunately it is no longer possible to send comments on the draft study direct to Network Rail, but if you have any comments to make please send them here to MRLC ( and we will ensure that they are included in a letter we will be sending in the near future to Richard Eccles, Network Rail's Director of Network Strategy and Planning  - once again stressing the urgent necessity for NR to join in meaningful discussions with the local transport authority, Cheshire East, and other interested parties.


I am writing this comment in my capacity of Chairman of the Middlewich Rail Link Campaign (MRLC), having read with interest the draft version of the Regional Urban Market Study.
MRLC, which has been in existence since 1992 and is run under the auspices of the Mid-Cheshire Rail Users' Association (MCRUA) campaigns for the re-opening to passengers of the Sandbach-Northwich Branch line, together with the building of a new station at Middlewich.
Our local MP, Fiona Bruce is a keen supporter of the Middlewich scheme and, earlier this year, presented a parliamentary petition on the subject.
She followed this up by writing to the Rt Hon. Simon Burns, Minister of State at the Department of Transport pointing out the merits of the scheme and the undoubted benefits it would bring to Middlewich, the County of Cheshire and the North-West region.
This was followed up by letters making similar points from Cheshire East Council and ourselves.
The Railway Consultancy Report, commissioned by MRLC and published in 2009, clearly shows the viability of the scheme, as did the earlier Chapman Report, also commissioned by the campaign. 
Middlewich in general, and the immediate vicinity of the proposed new station in particular, contains many potential commuters who work in the Manchester area and are currently obliged to travel by car into the city on the A556, due to the lack of a train service.
The scheme also, we should point out, falls within the criteria stated in the introduction to your draft document, in that Middlewich is less than 50 miles from Manchester (less than half that distance, in fact) and, as the Railway Consultancy report shows, has the potential to generate a considerable number of journeys daily, both by commuters and leisure-seekers.
The scheme's cost/benefit ratio is 5:1, far in excess of what is needed for the scheme to merit serious consideration.
Fiona Bruce recently wrote to Richard Eccles reminding him of the existence of the Middlewich scheme and pointing out that it fits in perfectly with the aims of the long-term planning of the network in order to achieve, 'economic growth, reduced carbon emissions and improved quality of life for communities and individuals.'
Cheshire East Council, as our local transport authority, is very keen to see the Middlewich scheme go ahead and will, no doubt have made its own representations to you on the subject.
We would submit that the Middlewich scheme should be seriously considered by network planners, as it has so much potential to help NR achieve its aims as set out in the draft  Regional Urban Market Study.

Dave Roberts
Middlewich Rail Link Campaign

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