THE number of passengers using Wilmslow train station and the six services an hour it enjoys has been highlighted by Knutsford Town Council as to why the town should receive an improved rail service in the upcoming franchise renewal.

The Guardian teamed up with the Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership in July to launch a campaign to get a half-hourly service connecting our towns and villages to Manchester and Chester.

In June the Cheshire and Warrington Local Transport Body (CWLTB) recommended it would lobby Rail North – an organisation looking after the renewal of the Northern and Transpennine Express franchises – and the Department of Transport in a bid to get a half-hourly service running along the line.

The line covers Knutsford, Plumley, Mobberley and Ashley and is popular with commuters heading to Chester and Manchester.

However, the service is currently every hour and trains in peak times are often overcrowded.

 In its official response to the consultation Knutsford Town Council said Wilmslow's 1.2million passengers a year is twice Knutsford's number per annum but it enjoys a six-train an hour service – partly helped by its location on the route connecting Manchester and London.

The town council said: "Passenger numbers at Knutsford have grown 167 per cent over the last ten years, with the result that some rush hour trains are now regularly leaving passengers behind at Knutsford station, due to being full, on the current hourly service.

"There are currently approximately 500,000 passenger journeys from Knutsford each year, and comparison with other nearby towns shows the service level we are receiving to be well below accepted levels elsewhere – Alsager only has roughly 90,000 passenger journeys a year but already enjoys a half hour service, whilst Wilmslow has 1.2 million passenger journeys a year.

"The Sunday trains are also very crowded, at one every two hours, and we believe it would be financially viable to also double this service to one train per hour, on similar lines to the above."

Councillors also called for the Middlewich branch line to reopen which would mean a direct line would be opened up for Knutsford residents to travel to Crewe and then further afield.

If you want to have your say visit the Rail North website and after downloading and reading the consultation document, fill out the survey at this address by visiting here or email your comments about the Mid Cheshire line to

Alternatively you can write a letter to the following address stating the need for more trains on the line to Northern TPE Consultation Co-ordinator, Department for Transport, 4/15 Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 4DR.

The closing dates for comments – including the survey is August 18.