THE popular campaign to reopen Middlewich Rail Station, which has run for 23 years, has appointed a new chairman in a ‘very critical time’.


The Middlewich Rail Link Campaign, started up in 1992, has also had a name-change to the Mid Cheshire Rail Link Campaign, to reflect the wider need.


The campaign has been chaired by Dave Roberts for many years and after he decided to take a step back, Middlewich man Stephen Dent has taken over the mantle.


Dave said: “I’m still going to be very much involved in the campaign, but it was time for a new lease of life.


“The idea at first was to keep the thought of the train station alive and on the minds of the authorities and I think we did that extremely well.


“This is a new time for the campaign now and it’s looking certain it will happen, we just want it to be sooner rather than later.”


New chairman Stephen has been a member of the campaign group for 20 years and said he has taken over at a time where the reopening of the station and the Middlewich link line is looking ever more likely.


Stephen said: “Dave Roberts has done a fantastic job for many years but he said he would like to retire and we needed to appoint another chairman.


“I have agreed to take over at a very critical time. For the past few months, people have been saying ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ and that is the first time people have started saying that.


“Cheshire East Council are far more interested now because they are heavily involved in HS2 so we will be working with the council a lot more from now on.”


Stephen’s first action as chairman was to change the campaign name.


The idea is to show that reopening the link line from the Mid Cheshire line to the Crewe to Manchester line would benefit communities throughout mid Cheshire.


Stephen added: “The first thing I did after becoming the chairman was change the name because people think it is a Middlewich thing and it’s not. The opening of the line would affect 27 towns around Cheshire.


“By changing the name we not only show that we want a railway station for Middlewich, which we definitely do, but we also show that the people of Knutsford want a way through to Crewe and so on. It’s just as important.”