MID Cheshire rail users have suffered a blow in their bid for more capacity on the line after it was announced Northern had been told to move six diesel trains to another rail operator by the Department for Transport.

The announcement on Thursday, January 8 resulted in Northern – the operator of the Mid Cheshire Line – gaining a set of refurbished electric trains for its routes between Liverpool and Manchester and Liverpool and Preston.

But as a result, Northern has had to give six two-car trains to Trans-Pennine Express after stock leasing company Porterbrook decided to give five TransPennine trains to Chiltern Railways.

Northern's 'new' electric trains were built in 1990 but were supposed to be for extra capacity. However, it seems they have been used as replacements for those lost to TransPennine Express instead.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the move was to ensure people across the north could 'access work and leisure more easily'.

However, Mid Cheshire line users – who have an hourly service – may not agree.

“Rail services across the north are vital for passengers and for the economy," Mr Loughlin said.

By helping people access work and leisure more easily, we are securing long-term economic growth across the region.

“That is why we have worked hard with Northern and TransPennine Express to ensure we expand services and enhance passenger journeys.”

Routes that will benefit from the announcement include Manchester to Blackpool, Cumbrian coast services, south TransPennine route and services between Manchester and Yorkshire – which will be made up of a minimum of three carriages or 181 seats.

Alex Hynes, managing director of Northern Rail, said: “Rail travel is increasingly popular in the north of England placing capacity at a premium.

"That is why we have been working with First TransPennine Express and the Department for Transport to ensure customers would not be disadvantaged by the loss of some FTPE trains.

“In doing so we are delighted to be able to provide more seats for customers on some of our busiest routes. Through deploying more electric trains to take advantage of newly electrified routes, we are able to help maintain capacity for FTPE and add more seats for customers in Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside.”