Train situation in Knutsford is just not good enough

A new body responsible for speeding up transport projects in the North must find a way to deliver the long-awaited two trains an hour to Manchester, an MP has said.

Tatton MP Esther McVey said she had heard reasons and excuses as to why the promised service from Knutsford had not been delivered but hopes for solutions and action from the newly formed group.

Last week Government announced it was setting up a Northern Transport Acceleration Council – made up of council leaders and mayors and chaired by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, with the focus on accelerating vital infrastructure projects and delivering better connectivity across towns and cities across the North.

Tatton MP Esther McVey said: “It is great news we have a body specifically for the North as good connectivity is not only beneficial to passengers but vital to our local economies.

“I have made the case repeatedly in Parliament for increasing capacity on the mid-Cheshire line and to rail bosses and I will keep making the case. My constituents are frustrated by this delay and they deserve better than an unreliable and irregular service. I hope this new body will look closely at the case and realise the importance of increasing capacity as promised. I know Grant Shapps is aware of my concerns but I will be writing to him again in his role as chair of the group and to local council leaders to ensure everyone is aware of why this upgrade is so important.”

It has previously been claimed there is no capacity on the line for an extra train an hour – a claim Ms McVey challenged saying capacity issues should have been established before a franchise bid was submitted.

She added: “This service was promised as part of a franchise bid and five years on, we are still waiting for it to happen it is ludicrous. To say it cannot happen because of capacity issues seems very far fetched as the capacity was either there or not there before the bid was submitted. I along with everyone else expect Northern to deliver.”

Now with changes to the timetable due to Covid-19 the service is operating every 90 minutes.