Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

How Bizarre…or is it?

Posted in Commuter, Great Britain, Infrastructure, Metro by Chairman Pip on 28 May 2011

Something’s been bothering me for a few days since I wrote my post about the prospect of putting the Metrolink onto the Mid-Cheshire Line. Just for once, I received some comments about it on Twitter, uniformally good, which led into a brief discussion with The Political Animal about it – he expressed the idea that, while what I put up would be fun:

But I wldn’t hold yr breath for a tram-train through the wooded expanses of Delamere Forest to Chester!

The thing is though, why not? As I’ve said previously, I personally don’t see Metrolink as a tram service – to me, given its characteristics, it is more like a train service (at the very least, in the manner of the DLR) that happens to have a few sections of on-street running. Given that, when on the Mid-Cheshire line Metrolink will be a train service, and given that a train service already runs on it now, why would it be such a stretch to see Metrolink “trains” going all the way? Given that railways (even electrified railways) run through forest areas, personally I don’t see a problem to do it. Admittedley, he will probably be right that any Metrolink service would probably be truncated to terminate at Northwich rather than going all the way to Chester, as that is the last major large town between Manchester and Chester on the line, while Chester has other connections to Manchester via the Chester to Manchester Line. Nevertheless, there is at present half the service frequency from Chester to Manchester (2tph, one operated by Arriva Trains Wales and one by Northern Rail) as there is from Chester to Liverpool (every 15 minutes by Merseyrail), which leaves just 1tph on the Mid-Cheshire Line for anyone needing to get to or from Manchester. Increasing the service frequency would allow Chester to latch on to a greater extent to the Manchester economy, as having the Merseyrail service no doubt allows it to participate in Liverpool’s. Integrating it into the Metrolink network would be the way to do so.

Why not convert the Mid-Cheshire line for tram-train operation all the way to Chester?

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  1. […] this article: How Bizarre…or is it? Category: Uncategorized | Tags: been-bothering, few-days, metrolink, onto-the-mid, […]


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