Rail Minister Theresa Villiers announced today that all rail passengers in the North-West of England will have more say on how local rail services are run and if they can be improved.
The announcement came after the designation of the Mid-Cheshire Railway lines as a community rail service. The designation of the line between Chester and Manchester via Northwich will enable train companies to work closely with community rail partnerships to design better services to meet local needs.
The added community lines that have been announced will bring passengers together so they can have their say on any issues they have with rail services that currently run in Mid-Cheshire.
Theresa Villiers spoke about the announcement saying: “I want to encourage communities to become more closely involved with their railways to help create the services and stations passengers deserve.
“That’s why I am delighted to announce this latest community rail designation. Today’s designation is a major step towards helping the Mid-Cheshire Community Rail Partnership work closely with local groups to provide innovative and more cost effective rail services for their community.”
The new designation line is part of the Community Rail Service Strategy to achieve even more for passengers, flexibility and to work closely with the rail industry. It is hoped to maximise rail services and station improvements in Mid Cheshire.
Ian Bevan, Managing Director of Northern Rail, who runs services on the route, said: “Northern welcomes the designation of the Mid-Cheshire line as a community rail service.
“This line plays an important role in the area and designation will assist in identifying innovative ways of developing this line to the benefit of local people and visitors to the region.
“The community rail partnership for the line is already doing a great job and this will enable it to go from strength to strength.”
Currently there are 18 lines with their services being designated as community rail services from 2005 these include St Ives Bay line, Abbey Line, Esk Valley line and Tamar Valley Line. Along with the Chester and Manchester line there have been additional services including the North Staffordshire line running from Crewe to Derby via Stoke-on-Trent which was designated as a community line in 2008.
Rail passengers will welcome the new lines that have been announced today and will hopefully bring ideas and ways of improving the rail services in the North-West.
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By Amanda Bainbridge