Saturday, 20 December 2014

Eleven Rail improvement schemes we need in Cheshire before HS2

At our recent Council meeting at CWaC we debated the improvements we desired both in and around Cheshire in advance of HS2.  The wish list emerging from Cheshire and North Wales has eleven projects.

The schemes are both listed below as well as being shown on the map.  They are:

  1. Electrification of the Crewe-Holyhead line - this passes through southern Cheshire and Chester before running along the North Wales coast to Holyhead;
  2. Chester - Wrexham line - rail lines to be restored to double track;
  3. Bidston - Wrexham line - to be upgraded and electrified;
  4. Halton Curve (Frodsham to Runcorn main line station) upgraded to bi-directional use for passengers;
  5. Chester - Manchester (Mid-Cheshire Line) greater frequency of service;
  6. Manchester Airport link line to the Mid-Cheshire Line;
  7. Link line to Middlewich from Mid-Cheshire Line to be upgraded to passenger grade with a new station built at Middlewich;
  8. Chester - Liverpool service via Halton Curve;
  9. Hooton - via Ellesmere Port, Helsby, Frodsham etc to Liverpool and North
  10. Chester - Warrington - line upgrade and electrification; and
  11. Winsford - Hartford service enhancements. 

Now you don't need to tell anyone in Frodsham just how important we are, and just how much we want our rail services to be improved and enhanced.  However I am delighted that CWaC (and our partner authorities) are arguing for 11 rail improvement schemes - 4 of which directly involve Frodsham and the services from our station.

These improvements aren't solely about railway lines - they also involve the associated infrastructure such as car parking.  In the council debate I raised exactly that issue and the need to ensure that, for example, car parking at Frodsham station is sufficient to meet the likely significantly increased demand.

I am delighted that as a council and with our neighbouring authorities we are being this ambitious.  At the moment just under 80% of us in Frodsham who go to work, do so by car.  These rail schemes are not only vital as part of building a 'northern power-house' - they are also important to ensure we have sustainable transport that is kinder to the environment.