ESTHER McVey has pledged to continue pushing for better transport connections across Cheshire, following a meeting with a rail passengers' group.

Ms McVey, MP for Tatton – which includes Lostock Gralam, Barnton and Comberbach – met with the Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association to discuss the poor service on the Mid Cheshire Line.

MCRUA is continuing its longstanding call for action over the Northern service, as it seeks to remind the operator as well as the Department for Transport and Netowrk Rail of their obligations under the franchise agreement.

Northern won the franchise in 2015, with pledges including phasing out Pacers and adding an extra hourly service between Chester and Manchester Piccadilly via stations including Northwich, Greenbank and Lostock.

Ms McVey said: “I will continue to push Government, the relevant ministers and the Chancellor for better local transport connections across Cheshire and into Manchester."

Further support has come from local authority bodies, as well as Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury.

John Oates, chairman of MCRUA, said: "We are pleased that Ms McVey is taking a personal interest in the rail users on the Mid Cheshire Line.

“Northwich is only 20 miles from Manchester, the nearest big employment centre, but it currently takes almost an hour by train which is an average speed of 20 miles per hour.

“You only need to stand on Knutsford or Northwich stations in a morning to see how frustrated passengers are with our slow service and outdated rolling stock.

“This poor connectivity of these sluggish hourly trains is strangling the growth of the Mid Cheshire economy.

“Likewise, we are trying to promote the Mid Cheshire Line as the route for people in our regional cities to a have a marvellous day out at our towns and attractions along the line.

“We know people in Manchester, Stockport and further afield love to visit Knutsford by train for its shops and eating houses, Northwich for the Weaver Hall Museum, Lion Salt Works and Anderton Boat Lift and Delamere Forest for a healthy day out.

“All we are asking is that mid Cheshire gets it fair share of national transport budget, faster trains and the two trains an hour promised from December 2017 by the Department of Transport in the Northern railway franchise commitment.

“Our current rail service would be totally unacceptable in any other part of the country.”