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Rail line flooding boosts hopes of link to Crewe
KNUTSFORD train passengers’ hopes of a rail link to Crewe and London was boosted after a redundant line saved the day during a flooding crisis.
The Northwich to Sandbach line was used as a diversion route by Virgin Trains for its hourly service from Chester to Crewe on September 25 and 26.
This was due to torrential rain which caused rail tracks in Christleton to be submerged.
The Northwich to Sandbach line has been closed to passengers for half a century, but there is a campaign to bring it back into use.
Clr Andrew Malloy of Knutsford Town Council is supporting the campaign, saying it will improve rail services in the town.
“This demonstrates that the line meets an acceptable safety standard for use by passenger traffic,” he said.
“So the road to opening to regular passenger services can only surely be a tick box exercise.”
Reopening the line would cost around £2 million, and would also see Middlewich station brought back into use, which has been closed since the last day of 1959.
Dave Roberts, chairman of the Rail Link Campaign, said: “We’re delighted that once again the usefulness of the Middlewich line has been demonstrated.
“We hope that this will put paid once and for all to any lingering suggestion that the line is, in some way, not suitable for passenger trains.
“The route is considered part of the West Coast Main Line, and has been a designated diversionary route since 1957 for such a situation as the one we have just seen.
“Network Rail has made it clear they consider this line of great strategic importance, and in recent years many improvements have been made including track replacements, a new signalling system and an upgraded radio system to control trains.
“The interesting question is, where would these diverted Holyhead trains have been routed if the line was not there?”