Friday, 28 March 2014



The latest meeting of the Middlewich Rail Link Campaign took place on Tuesday 25th March at the Boar's Head in  Middlewich.

Discussion largely centered on Cheshire East Council's Local Plan Strategy. The importance of representations on this from the Campaign and also from members of the public was stressed.
MRLC will be making representations in writing on this matter to Cheshire East before the deadline of 25th April

Chapter 14 of the document concerns Sustainable Transport and talks about rail infrastructure schemes in Cheshire East.

Although the Middlewich Rail Link scheme is included in this section and the document talks about 'supporting the aspiration for re-opening the Sandbach to Northwich railway line...(and)...opening a station at Middlewich', we feel that the wording is far too vague.
Our campaign has been running for over twenty years, and the case for re-opening has been more than proved. We feel that the wording should be changed to reflect this and should read:

'Taking action to bring about the re-opening of the Sandbach to Northwich railway line to passengers, including the opening of a station in Middlewich, by direct talks with Network Rail and all other interested parties.'

Another section of the Local Plan Strategy document covers STRATEGIC LOCATION SL9 which includes the Brooks Lane area and the station site.

In the section headed

Site Specific Principles of Development

we are requesting that the document should include the following wording:

'Safeguarding the site for the new railway station in Middlewich, fully taking into account the exact siting of the platform and associated access. Car parking for the station should also be taken into account and provision made for it.'

and the map accompanying this section should also be amended to show the railway station, its exact location and dimensions

In order to facilitate these changes to the local plan document, the Council can make reference to the Railway Consultancy report (available via the MRLC website) and also liaise with Network Rail.

In general, MRLC feels that the time for 'ifs, buts and maybes' has long since passed and that we should proceed on the assumption that the re-opening will go ahead, however long it may take.

Cllr Mike Parsons has been doing sterling work in keeping the issue alive with the relevant people at Cheshire East, pointing out the immense benefits this scheme would provide, right across Cheshire and the opportunities for funding which are coming along at the moment.

We are still waiting for results from the meeting last November in which representatives from Cheshire East and Network Rail were able to meet face to face to discuss the re-opening of this line.

We also talked about the new 'Cheshire Fresh' development in Holmes Chapel Road which has just been granted planning permission, and felt that this, once again, strengthens the case for the new station.

Discussion of the diverted Virgin trains which ran through Middlewich on the 16th March also took place. We have some great photos of these trains from Glen Leigh and David Hawkes, and these will appear in due course on this website.

If you'd like to make your own representations on Cheshire East's Local Plan Strategy document, here is the link:

It is also possible to make submissions in writing by obtaining forms from the local library and other Cheshire East offices. Details are on the Cheshire East website.

Submissions need to be in for 5pm on Friday 25th April.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email us on

and we'll do our best to answer them

Dave Roberts
27th March 2014


  1. I don't know whether there has been any consideration of rolling stock, but it can be expensive. A recent edition of Great British Railway Journeys, Series 4, episode 4, "Dudley to Bridgnorth (via Stourbridge)", featured the Stourbridge Town Branch Line that uses the Parry People Mover, see
    I suspect that this is a lot cheaper than regular rolling stock, and requires a smaller platform (less costs).
    With Sandbach to Northwich at 11miles (18km), at a typical speed of 50km/hr, the round trip would take 45mins for a single unit, 25 mins each way for a pair of vehicles.

    1. CheshireGuy, we're campaigning for a service to exist at all, not necessarily the rolling stock. It would be up to the DfT and the train operating company (likely Northern Rail) who would decide on that. The Parry has been discussed in meetings and I went to Stourbridge to experience it. It's a very bumpy, very slow and overall unpleasant experience, and that's for the 2 minute journey between the Stourbridge stations. A half hour journey on one would not be ideal, unless they build one more suited to longer journeys. Ideally though, services would work through and continue from Northwich on the Mid-Cheshire Line to Manchester and/or Stockport, which wouldn't suit a Parry at all. Alternatively, one of the proposals was for peak-only services, again running through to Manchester. These would use the rolling stock for whatever service is extended through Middlewich and would need platforms to suit (so for Northern this would be primarily 142s and 150s).

      On a personal note, while having a station at Middlewich makes sense, even opening the route up for services to run from Crewe to Northwich and Knutsford would be beneficial as I work in Knutsford and currently drive, but it would be pretty daft for the route to open *without* a station at Middlewich.

      At the end of the day, actually creating the station and obtaining rolling stock would be out of our hands, we just want the service to exist in the first place.

  2. I have submitted a response on-line to the consultation document mentioned and received an acknowledgement as follows:

    "Your comment will be considered as soon as possible. You will be notified when
    your comment has been confirmed as processed (valid) or when it has been classed
    as inadmissible.