RAIL users are calling for immediate action from Northern over issues with student travel on the Mid Cheshire Line.

Overcrowding on services to and from Greenbank around school times was one of the problems raised when Chris Jackson, Northern's regional director, addressed a public meeting last Thursday.

The desperation of the issue was best illustrated by some even calling for phased-out Pacers to be kept in service until the problem is resolved.

John Oates, MCRUA chairman said: “The continuing problem of students returning from Greenbank railway station in the late afternoon was exacerbated in the last timetable change when the train was reduced from a four-car set to a two-car set.

READ >>> Concern for pupils after overcrowding at Greenbank station

“The issue on the morning outward journey from Knutsford to Greenbank for students was of considerable concern to the audience with rail users saying that the problem was now become a serious safety and safeguarding issue which needed Northern’s immediate and close attention.

“Chris explained the problem was a lack of diesel units across the whole of the Northern network.

“There was even a call for the 1980s Class 142 Pacers trains to be kept in service by the audience until the deficiency in units was resolved.

“There is no doubt our local rail users have got the message over to Northern. The problem must now be resolved as this is an accident waiting to happen.”

Knutsford Guardian:

Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern

Mr Jackson answered questions at the Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association public meeting in Knutsford, covering issues from station clocks to the failed 'two trains an hour' promise.

He told the public meeting that the ageing Pacer fleet would be two-thirds taken out of service by the end of the year, and that from January 1 there would be no Pacer units on the Mid Cheshire Line.

Whilst the Mid Cheshire Line would not receive new rolling stock, it would be getting the latest refurbished stock brought in from other franchises.

Mr Jackson apologised for the problems with the vintage clock at Northwich, the recent installation of Amazon lockers at Plumley and Cuddington and for Greenbank capacity issues.

Asked about the delay in two trains an hour on the line, Mr Jackson explained this was through a lack of paths between Stockport and Piccadilly, with the industry and the Department for Transport carrying out a full review to establish how best this could be resolved.

He also said that Northern would be enhancing ticket machines to make them more reliable and functional.