RAIL users have reported a weekend of misery after more than 20 trains were cancelled on the mid Cheshire line.

The cancellations left passengers travelling between Chester and Manchester via Northwich and Knutsford not knowing when they would arrive at their final destinations.

Friday, November 22, saw 11 fully cancelled services, with a further eight the following day and four more on Sunday.

The majority of these were caused by driver shortages and compounded by point failures in the Chester and Mickle Trafford areas.

The mid Cheshire line, which only has one service every other hour on a Sunday, was promised a doubling of Sunday services and two trains per hour on weekdays as part of a franchise agreement in 2015.

But Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association (MCRUA) chairman John Oates says that none of these promises have been delivered, leaving rail users with an unreliable service fraught with cancellations.

“Last weekend, the service on the mid Cheshire line was one of the poorest on record, leaving passengers stranded and not knowing when they would arrive at their final destination,” he said.

“These cancellations affected commuters travelling into work, those with hospital appointments and rail users heading for Manchester and Chester for the Christmas Markets.

“On Friday afternoon, three consecutive trains were cancelled out of Manchester leaving passengers with no service for four hours.

“The knock-on effect of this was no trains out of Chester from 3pm to 6pm in the evening, and then the 8pm train was cancelled.

“Passengers’ patience after being stranded at Greenbank, Northwich and Knutsford stations is now wearing very thin, and they have a complete lack of confidence in our local rail services.

“Whilst these problems are ones for Northern and Network Rail to resolve, MCRUA are asking why Transport for the North and the Department for Transport seem only content with words and no action.

“The services on the mid Cheshire Line, which is the only line into Manchester, are so unpredictable and they are simply unacceptable.”