Tuesday, 28 July 2015


60009 Union of South Africa at Sandbach, 24th July 2015  Photo: Nigel Allcock (used with permission)

There have been several meetings of the MRLC Group in recent months.
At the meeting of 28th April discussion largely centred on Cheshire East Leader Michael Jones' plans to develop, along with London & Continental Railways, 'the Middlewich Rail Corridor' as part of plans for an HS2 hub station at Crewe. MRLC Group members felt that the Middlewich scheme should be considered on its own merits, whether or not the proposed High Speed Link was built.
The meeting on the 28th May was concerned chiefly with the future role of MRLC
given that Cheshire East and L & C R plan to develop the 'Middlewich Rail Corridor' with or without HS2. It was suggested that MRLC's  role would be mainly as a pressure group aimed at ensuring that a passenger service on the Middlewich line and a new station were included in any plans. It was felt that, in the continuing absence of any real news on HS2 and Cheshire East's intentions towards the Middlewich line, we should intensify our campaign to make sure that the Middlewich line remained firmly on everyone's agendas. To this end we intend to forge alliances with as many organisations as possible, including the Mid Cheshire Development Board (formerly Weaver Valley Project) the Heritage Railways Association and Saltscape. 
MRLC will also ensure that plans for the line are included in the Neighbourhood Plan which is currently being put together by the Town Council and which would, in turn, feed into Cheshire East's Local Plan. The Middlewich line has great potential for connecting communities across Cheshire with a North-South connection and we intend to make sure that this fact is fully understood by all concerned. Our campaign has always created a lot of interest locally and to ensure that this continues MRLC has placed a full page advert in Go Local,  the  magazine which reaches every house in the town.
We're very grateful to our parent organisation, the Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association, which has funded this advertisement and to Bernice Walmsley of Go Local for her help and support..
At a meeting on the 30th June the MRLC Group decided that MRLC, which is a sub-committee of MCRUA (the Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association) would be re-structured in order to become the Middlewich Rail Link Campaign Group.
In future a Campaign Update will be produced after every meeting and published here on the Group's website.
We intend to forge links with local companies who support our campaign, and ask them to make their support public.
MRLC welcomes the fact that Cllr Simon McGrory recently put forward a motion to Middlewich Town Council asking that it affirm its support for the Campaign and ask Cheshire East to establish the re-opening of the station as an agenda item for the next meeting of the CWLTB (Cheshire & Warrington Local Transport Board). The motion was seconded by Cllr Mike Hunter and unanimously accepted by the council.
In future MRLC Meetings will be held every two months on the last Tuesday of the month.
Thus the next few meetings will be held on: September 29th, November 24th, January 26th 2016 and March 29th 2016.
On the 22nd July an informal meeting was held to discuss the steam tests which no 60009 Union of South Africa was running on the Crewe-Sandbach section of our route. It was originally planned that the loco would run up the Sandbach-Middlewich-Northwich line as part of these tests but news reached us during the meeting that the plans had been changed and, in the event, the loco only travelled as far as Sandbach, where it ran round and went back to Crewe. Then fact that 60009 didn't travel up our line proved irrelevant, as many of the 50-60 people at Sandbach on both days had picked up the information from Friends of Sandbach Station who had, in turn, got the information from our website. We were thus able to generate some useful publicity and create new links with various people from the Sandbach area, including FOSS.
Steam dreams....Union of South Africa  at Platform 3, Sandbach Station 23rd July 2015.  Photo: Alan Rivers (used with permission)

Several Virgin Euston-Holyhead services are being diverted over the Middlewich line this weekend (1st/2nd August) and MRLC Members are looking forward to seeing the line put to passenger carrying use once again.

'....not suitable for passenger trains....?' Two Virgin Voyagers pass in the Middlewich loop, May 2014.
Photo: Greg Mapes. From the North Wales Coast Railway Noticeboard website

1 comment:

  1. Trains passing through Middlewich on the Sat 1st Aug: http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/search/advanced/MDLW/2015/08/01/0000-2359?stp=V&show=all&order=wtt

    Sun 2nd Aug: http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/search/advanced/MDLW/2015/08/02/0000-2359?stp=V&show=all&order=wtt

    Feel free to include the links in your article.