A GOVERNMENT minister has vowed to pursue unlocking the rail link from Knutsford to Crewe following a meeting with residents, businesses and Tatton’s MP.

Esther McVey joined the Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association (MCRUA) and local firms at a meeting with Paul Maynard, who has served as rail minister since July 2016 – with the mid Cheshire link lines and the Manchester Airport western link on the agenda.

Mr Maynard, the Crewe-born Conservative MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, is now set to explore improved rail links across the area after hearing how it could boost the economy and ease congested roads, and is ‘looking forward to seeing proposals develop’.

“It was a really productive meeting, getting around the table with Paul,” Ms McVey said.

“Paul said he will pursue the issue on our behalf in the Department for Transport. He is a local lad, born and bred and he knows the area and knows the importance of these lines and how they could benefit us.

“We have to be able to connect our towns and connect mid Cheshire to Manchester. We have to take cars off the clogged roads and improve our transport links so we see the area continue to blossom.”

Ms McVey, who has previously raised transport issues in Parliament, is now promising to continue working with the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership and all interested parties to highlight the importance of improving transport links in mid Cheshire.

John Oates, chairman of MCRUA, believes the meeting with Mr Maynard went well, providing ‘some useful guidance’.

“It was particularly useful also to have a discussion between those in the meeting about the next steps to take in order to bring these projects to fruition for the benefit of the Mid Cheshire and wider economy,” he said.

Cllr Tony Dean, Cheshire East Council member for Knutsford, told the Guardian that he welcomed progress on improving rail links in Knutsford at a time that HS2 is firmly on the table.

“Everybody is behind the reopening of the mid Cheshire link because it would be very helpful for both the economy and residents to be able to get down to Crewe,” he said.

“In years to come we will have HS2 and at the moment there is no way to get from Knutsford to Crewe by rail.”