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The December rail timetable will bring a number of improvements to rail services for passengers and help to create a network for local rail travel in North Staffordshire and South Cheshire.
On the North Staffordshire Line, which serves all stations on the route from Crewe, via Stoke-on-Trent, to Derby, East Midlands Trains has responded to passenger demand and reinstated peak time stops morning and early evening at both Longport and Longton stations. Both stations will now have an hourly service throughout the day on weekdays.
Two further train operators are also introducing new services which will benefit passengers using Crewe, Alsager, Kidsgrove and Stoke-on-Trent stations on the North Staffordshire Line.
London Midland’s new semi-fast Crewe-London service will call at Alsager and Kidsgrove stations, and also Stoke-on-Trent, Stone and Stafford.
As well as a direct service to the capital, this service will also provide an hourly direct daytime link to centres such as Milton Keynes, Northampton and Rugby and afford more opportunities for local rail travel around Staffordshire, with Lichfield, Rugeley and Tamworth also on the timetable.
From 14 December, Northern Rail will be running a new hourly service Stoke-on-Trent – Manchester, calling at most stations on route including Kidsgrove, Congleton and Macclesfield. The 0630 and 0717 Stoke-on-Trent - Manchester will also call at Longport station.
The new services provide an especial boost for Kidsgrove passengers, who from mid-December will have a choice of three services per hour to Stoke-on-Trent, as well as a frequent direct rail service to London and Manchester.
Michael Willmot, Chair of the North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership, which works to develop the North Staffordshire Line, said: “We’re delighted that East Midlands Trains has reinstated the peak time Crewe-Derby services for passengers using Longton and Longport stations. Passenger numbers have increased greatly at both and it’s good news that services are being enhanced to reflect demand.
“The new, direct service Crewe-London from London Midland and the hourly Stoke-on-Trent – Manchester service, run by Northern, are a great boost for passengers from local communities wanting direct services to major conurbations and also for those who need more options for local rail travel, whether for work or leisure.”