TRAIN users have been given an early Christmas gift after the operator on the mid Cheshire line changed some of its services to make it easier to get home after a night out.

Northern Rail has announced improvements to services on the line which runs through Knutsford, Mobberley, Ashley and Plumley in its annual timetable change.

In partnership with Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership and Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association, from Sunday, the first Sunday train from Chester will leave later at 9.01am to provide a connection with the first Merseyrail service from Liverpool and the Wirral.

The rail company believes this early morning Sunday connection will open up more journey opportunities for families, students and visitors in the region to travel to Mid Cheshire.

For those wanting to spend the evening in Chester, the 9.07pm, Monday to Friday train from Chester, will now leave at a more convenient time of 9.33pm, offering a better return time for residents returning from evenings out.

It will now arrive back in Knutsford at 10.15pm.

Lee Wasnidge, area director for Northern Rail, said: “We’re thrilled to introduce improvements to services for our passengers.

“With more and more people choosing to travel by train, it’s important we put our partnership working with rail industry colleagues and local stakeholders to good use, by offering an improved timetable to our customers.”

John Oates, chairman of the Mid Cheshire Rail Users, said: “We’re delighted to see these changes that we asked for.

“Those from the Wirral will now be able to get to Mid Cheshire on Sunday mornings for a great day out, as well as those visiting Chester, North Wales and mid Cheshire getting home at a more convenient time.”

Sally Buttifant, Mid Cheshire Community Rail Officer, said: “These small changes to our timetable will enable more passengers to use our line for leisure.

“We are pleased that Northern Rail has listened to stakeholders and look forward to further partnership working.”