JOHN Hulme, a member of the Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership, added the new line would create growth.

“Whilst you have to be concerned for those people who are close to the path of the preferred HS2 rail route and there are many in our mid Cheshire area, this huge £32m infrastructure project should be seen as a way of fast tracking our local economy into growth,” he said.

“Surprisingly, when canals were first muted 250 years ago, nobody wanted them but they created our first Industrial Revolution which brought growth and prosperity to our own area.

“And, with some irony, the mid Cheshire Line between Knutsford and Northwich via Plumley opened on January 1 1863, exactly 150 years ago. Can you imagine the former ICI without a railway?

“The railway created jobs not just at ICI but at companies that supplied the chemical giant.

“Sadly, I believe HS2 will bring pain to our local area and those who will get the real gain are those in our major conurbations which the new route will link.”