Passengers in the North West will have more say on how local rail services are run after the designation of the Mid-Cheshire railway line as a community rail service, Rail Minister Theresa Villiers announced today (18 January 2012).
Designation of the line between Chester and Manchester via Northwich will enable train companies to work more closely with community rail partnerships to better design services to meet local needs.
Rail Minister Theresa Villiers said:
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.
Ian Bevan, Managing Director of Northern Rail, which 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.
John Oates, Chair of the Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership said:
Community Rail Service Designation for the Mid Cheshire Line will help us to achieve even more for passengers on our line. We look forward to having greater flexibility and the opportunity to work more closely with the rail industry, users, local councils and others to maximise the benefit of rail services and station improvements in Mid Cheshire.
The Community Rail Development Strategy looks at innovative ways of operating local branch lines, through a programme of cost management, a drive to increase passenger numbers and direct community involvement via local authorities, community rail partnerships, and other stakeholder groups.
To date, 18 lines with their services have been designated as Community Rail lines:
- St Ives Bay Line: St Erth to St Ives June 2005. Selected as one of the six pilot projects.
- Abbey Line: St Albans Abbey to Watford Junction June 2005. Selected as one of the six pilot projects.
- Esk Valley Line: Middlesbrough to Whitby June 2005. Selected as one of the six pilot lines.
- Tamar Valley Line: Plymouth to Gunnislake September 2005. Linked with Looe Valley as one of the six pilot projects.
- Looe Valley Line: Liskeard to Looe September 2005. Linked with Tamar Valley as one of the six pilot projects.
- Penistone Line: Barnsley to Huddersfield September 2005. Selected as one of the six pilot projects.
- Island Line: Isle of Wight (Ryde to Shanklin), March 2006.
- Tarka Line: Barnstaple to Cowley Junction Exeter, September 2006.
- Maritime Line: Falmouth to Truro September 2006.
- Derwent Valley: Derby to Matlock September 2006.
- East Lancashire Line: Colne to Gannow Junction Burnley November 2006.
- Gainsborough Line: Marks Tey to Sudbury November 2006
- Barton Line: Barton-on-Humber to Ulceby N. Junction January 2007
- Bittern Line: Norwich to Sheringham September 2007.
- Lakes Line: Oxenholme - Windermere April 2008.
- South Fylde Line: Blackpool South - Preston April 2008.
- Lymington Line: Brockenhurst - Lymington July 2008
- Preston to Ormskirk Line: Preston to Ormskirk September 2011
Additionally, 12 services have been designated as community rail services whilst not designating the lines on which they run. These services are designated when there are reasons why the infrastructure cannot be included in the designation - because it carries non local traffic or heavy freight or has previously been designated as part of the Trans European Network. To date the following services have been designated:
- Poacher Line: Grantham to Skegness July 2006. Selected as one of the six pilot projects.
- Atlantic Coast Line: Newquay to Par September 2006.
- Marston Vale Line: Bletchley to Bedford November 2006.
- Wherry Lines: Norwich to Yarmouth February 2007
- Wherry Lines: Norwich to Lowestoft February 2007
- Clitheroe Line: Manchester to Clitheroe March 2007.
- Medway Valley Line: Paddock Wood to Strood September 2007
- Severn Beach Line: Bristol Temple Meads - Severn Beach April 2008.
- North Staffordshire Line: Crewe - Derby via Stoke - on -Trent November 2008.
- Cumbrian Coast Line: Carlisle to Barrow-in-Furness September 2009
- Bishop Line: Darlington - Bishop Auckland January 2011
- Heart of Wessex Line: Bristol and Weymouth October 2011