Campaign to restore passenger services on the Middlewich Link Line

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by no commute yet, 10 Aug 2015.

  1. Ash Bridge

    Ash Bridge Established Member

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    Just to take this slightly off topic for a moment, do you think if the two? morning Stockport terminators from Chester instead of running ecs to Newton Heath, continued to Victoria as a passenger service (not necessarily calling at Reddish South & Denton) a healthy number of passengers would use it?
     
    Last edited: 19 Aug 2015
  2. Rail Ranger

    Rail Ranger Member

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    The first of those Chester-Stockport services, the 0635 (or thereabouts) from Chester reverses on the fast to fast crossover on Stockport viaduct and then goes ECS to Hazel Grove to form a Hazel Grove-Preston service.
     
  3. aformeruser

    aformeruser Veteran Member

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    And the unit which operates the 17:58 Stockport-Chester is the one which operates an earlier Piccadilly-Hazel Grove.

    That would give one working in each direction with the Victoria arrival in the morning at around 09:15 and one departure from the Victoria departure in the evening at around 16:40. I'm not really sure that would be useful for many people.
     
  4. 6Gman

    6Gman Established Member

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    I travelled this line on 8th May 1980 on a 3car DMU 51058 59418 51087

    Crewe - Northwich took 50 minutes; the return took 54 minutes.
     
  5. Dave Roberts

    Dave Roberts Member

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    As Chairman of the Middlewich Rail Link Campaign I've been following this thread with interest. Can I just make a few observations, based on what I have read?
    First of all, nice though it would be, we all know that Virgin Trains are not, and never will be, interested in stopping any of their trains in our town.
    The train operating company involved in running a Crewe-Manchester service will, in all probability, be Northern Rail and the trains will, in the early years at least, be the dreaded and almost universally loathed Pacers.
    Obviously the line speed is too low for regular passenger services at the moment (even for Pacers!) We've been informed that some, at least, of the speed restrictions on the line are no longer necessary following the upgrading of some sections of track. But the upgrading of the whole line for any new services, and any signalling changes deemed necessary, will be the responsibility of Network Rail and its engineers
    The Middlewich Rail Link Campaign's role is to suggest that a new service would be viable - and indeed to prove it, which we have done in the 2009 Railway Consultancy report; we do not get involved in the nuts and bolts of how the service is brought into being and eventually run.
    On the subject of the station site: when housing was built on the old station yard site we made representations to the former Congleton Planning Department and were successful in getting both platforms and a space for car-parking protected from development (that's why there's a huge open space in the middle of that housing development). However, in the ensuing years, the down platform has been encroached on by garden fences, sheds etc. and our consultants decided that a simpler option would be to move to a new site on the single-track section which would need only one platform for both up and down trains.
    However, if Network Rail decides that the station should be built on the old site or, indeed, on a different site to the one suggested, that would, again, be entirely a matter for them.
    Incidentally, regarding the number of passengers from Middlewich who will use the service, of course it won't be 15,000. If every man, woman and child in the town decided to use the trains we'd be a) a bit shocked and b) struggling a little to cope. But I can assure you that the 2009 report tells us that more than enough people would use the service to make it viable.
    That is not, and never has been, in doubt.
    Now for the potential spanner in the works: Cheshire East Council is working with London & Continental Railways to develop facilities in connection with plans for HS2 (and whoever else may have doubts that HS2 is coming to this area, I can assure you that Cheshire East most emphatically doesn't) and they've got their beady eyes on our little branch line (which has, suddenly, acquired the grandiose title of 'The Middlewich Rail Corridor').
    There are plans to move Basford Hall sidings from their present location in order to build the 'new' Crewe Station.
    And guess where they'd like to put the 'new' Basford Hall? Correct! In Middlewich, making it potentially one of the busiest rail centres in the country. That would certainly sort out any line speed concerns, wouldn't it? The line would have to be doubled (at least) and electrified. But would there be any room for our humble little Pacer train running from Crewe to Manchester through the lush meadows of Cheshire?
    We have, incidentally, wrung a promise from Cheshire East that, if HS2 should be cancelled - which they're convinced it won't - they'll still actively pursue the re-opening of the Middlewich line.
    How much that promise might be worth is not for me to say.
    So there we are; I hope that, if nothing else, I've convinced you that there's more to the Middlewich re-opening than might, at first, appear to be the case.
    Dave Roberts, Chairman, Middlewich Rail Link Campaign
     
  6. Kettledrum

    Kettledrum Member

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    ......so if the Basford Hall sidings were "relocated" to the Middlewich Rail Corridor, is there no chance at all that any provision could be made for passenger services? (especially as serving a major new employment site would enhance a business case)......or is it down to all of the capacity being used by by freight?
     
  7. bluenoxid

    bluenoxid Established Member

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    Is a railway yard going to be a major employment site?

    HS2 is going to be a major driver for this line.
     
  8. no commute yet

    no commute yet Member

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    Hi bluenoxid, this line is already viable whether or not there's a yard. Like everywhere else, Middlewich, and the surrounding areas, have increasing populations which need better transport; particularly Middlewich (pop 15,000) - Chester/Manchester/Crewe and Knutsford/Altrincham- Crewe.

    I hear about our line being linked to HS2 a lot but why? In 2009 when the consultants report said the project was 5:1 viable HS2 hadn't been heard of. Getting trains on to this line should happen now and I'd urge people to make sure our line goes in the next franchise bids rather than wait 10yrs/20yrs/never for HS2. We can have this line running now
     
    Last edited: 23 Aug 2015
  9. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Presumably the people who work at Basford Hall (mainly Freightliner and NR I guess) would relocate to the new site. However Basford Hall isn't within easy walking distance of Crewe and with many working unsocial hours I expect most of those employees would drive to work.
     
  10. aformeruser

    aformeruser Veteran Member

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    There's currently 4,000 people employed at Gadbrook Park in Rudheath - a site adjacent to the Middlewich branch. Gadbrook Park has a bus service from Northwich but it means many workers would have to get to Northwich using another bus or train and then get the bus to Gadbrook Park.

    The Hut Group, who are based at Gadbrook Park and the largest employer in the Northwich area have said they may have to move out of the Northwich area if they expand any further as they say the transport infrastructure is inadequate.

    Just beyond Gadbrook Park there's Robert's Bakery and the Morrisons regional distribution centre*, so more sites offering employment. I've also been informed Morrisons prohibit workers from walking to their regional distribution centre, if they have to cross any of the A roads in the area.

    * For some reason when the Farmer's Union staged a protest outside there BBC North West Tonight referred to it being in Middlewich!
     
  11. stockport1

    stockport1 Member

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    A park and ride at gadbrook park is a no brainer. As well as the business you mention the packed a556 is here also and the option To get a train to Knutsford\Altrincham\stockport\Manchester\crewe\chester from here would be a fantastic opportunity for commuters
     
  12. no commute yet

    no commute yet Member

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    That information about Hut Group is a worry. A shuttle bus service could run the mile or so up King St from Middlewich station to Gadbrook until a station gets put in at Gadbrook.

    No doubt the Cheshire and Warrington Local Transport Board (LTB) will want to make the Middlewich Line a priority as their aim is: '“To improve transport Infrastructure to secure significant connectivity gains in the support of economic growth and prosperity.” Here's a link to the LTB website. Putting passenger trains back on this line hasn't been on the LTB agenda recently so hopefully that will change before the next meeting on Nov 5th: http://moderngov.cheshireeast.gov.uk/ecminutes/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=740
     
  13. Joseph_Locke

    Joseph_Locke Established Member

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    Much as the Rail Freight Group may wish to relocate Basford Yard to Middlewich, it isn't a funded scheme.

    If Basford Yard is relocated it is by no means certain that the proposed HS2 IMD would follow it from Crewe.

    If the IMD did move (which is two layers of hypothetical down) then there is no guarantee that HS2 would actually need a link to the Middlewich Branch, as the one already proposed at Crewe would still be there.

    If Basford Yard is relocated, then Middlewich could still have a station, and would possibly also benefit from a line that had triangular junctions at both ends (allowing freight to run Middlewich/Manchester direct in both directions). Whether Middlewich's platforms are main line or on loops will depend on the level of freight traffic, but localised four-tracking around any new yard could well be required if freight growth continues as it is doing.
     
  14. Class 170101

    Class 170101 Established Member

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    Thats Nanny state gone too far isn't it?
     
  15. 6Gman

    6Gman Established Member

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    I would just point out that, imho, there is only a faint connection between the aspirations of Cheshire East and the concept of reality.

    And that Cheshire local authorities generally have a dreadful track record in transport planning.

    Let's not forget that by 2011 Crewe was to have had through sleeper services to Paris, a major rail/road freight interchange, and 7,000 new jobs!
     
  16. Chris125

    Chris125 Established Member

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    Doesn't 'nanny state' normally refer to the actions of the government, not a private company?
     
  17. Class 170101

    Class 170101 Established Member

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    Wrong phrase maybe but I am sure you understood the point. My employer doesn't tell me how I am allowed to get to / from work.
     
  18. Dave Roberts

    Dave Roberts Member

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    Neither have we!
     
  19. no commute yet

    no commute yet Member

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    Does anyone know where the planning/procuring is up to?
     
  20. Dave Roberts

    Dave Roberts Member

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    True! True! All true....!

    Hence my oft-repeated caveats concerning everything that Cheshire East and Michael Jones do and say.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    We certainly don't. To be clear on this issue, MRLC's job, as I see it, is to persuade Cheshire East and Network Rail to talk about the scheme.

    That's all we'd like them to do.Talk.

    As in Have Meetings.

    Actually CE have told me that meetings have taken place with Network Rail, but they have been unable to supply small details like the dates and locations of the meetings, who was present, what was discussed, minutes, reports - you know, small stuff like that.

    I for one have no intention of getting into detailed discussions about track, signalling, rolling stock, line speeds or anything else. It's not what I am here for.

    Until proper meetings are held between Cheshire East, Network Rail and all other interested parties I prefer to keep quiet.

    I will, however, tell you this. It's something I have repeated many times over the years: If someone can give me a definitive, rock-solid, unanswerable reason why the Middlewich scheme should not come to fruition I'll resign as Chairman and go and do something useful instead.
     
  21. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    As far as I've heard and understood it, Basford Hall would need to move because of the HS2 IMD. You could probably remodel Basford Hall to an extent making it a much more useful facility.
     
  22. 6Gman

    6Gman Established Member

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    We also need to understand what is meant by 'Basford Hall' since different things happen there!

    Which include:

    a) virtual quarry
    b) storage of all manner of stuff
    c) recess point for WCML freight
    d) remarshaling of intermodals (does that still happen there?)
    e) mysterious things involving flasks

    and I'm sure there's more.
     
  23. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    Pretty much all of it.
     
  24. aformeruser

    aformeruser Veteran Member

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    It would normally be a case of they`d ask you at the interview stage how you would get to work and if they don`t like your answer then no job offer and they may or may not feed back to you why exactly they weren`t interested.
     
  25. Xenophon PCDGS

    Xenophon PCDGS Veteran Member

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    This was a question that always formed part of the interview process at our consultancy prior to my retirement as Senior Head of Projects. Many companies are these days based in rural environments.

    However, I will make no comment on the matter stated about a negatively phrased answer to the said question.
     
  26. aformeruser

    aformeruser Veteran Member

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    About 8 years ago I had an interview with an outspoken manager of a company in Nantwich. When I said that if I got the job initially I would get a bus to Wilmslow and then a train to Nantwich but would be looking to move closer, he asked what time was the last bus from Wilmslow to Knutsford. When I told him he seemed unimpressed saying they were a flexible agency and needed people who were able to work overtime in the evenings when required, which he said sounded like it would a problem with me.
     
  27. no commute yet

    no commute yet Member

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    The Middlewich Rail Link Campaign is meeting on Tuesday (29th Sept) at 8pm at The Boar's Head in Middlewich, CW10 0JE. If anyone is interested in supporting the campaign please come along.

    The campaign group has set up a Facebook page: 'Middlewich Railway Station.' We've been asked some good technical questions by one poster so if anyone here wants to nip over to the Facebook page and post replies please do.

    Thank you to everyone who has posted replies in this thread. You're as knowledgeable as I'd hoped and have been very kind and patient with someone who knew next to nothing about railways.

    Kind regards to all and if you're interested I'll pop back from time to time and let you know how the campaign is going.
     
  28. aformeruser

    aformeruser Veteran Member

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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-34537991
     
  29. Xenophon PCDGS

    Xenophon PCDGS Veteran Member

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    What large infrastructural possibilities were discussed in previous local plan that covered the southern area of Cheshire East and since that date, how many large infrastructural projects have actually come to fruition. Cheshire East council are fortunate to have the M6 passing through its region which is used both by industrial and logistics companies and provides a fast link for many business parks to the main motorway network.

    In the northern part of Cheshire East, the decision by AstraZeneca to relocate to the Cambridge area from its flagship base at Nether Alderley must have come as quite a shock to Cheshire East Council, but at least on that site, moves are afoot to reinvigorate the business possibilities and some movement has already been forthcoming.
     
  30. Amberley54

    Amberley54 Member

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    Astra Zeneca continues to invest at their Macclesfield production facility.
     

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