MIKE Amesbury says he was given ‘reassuring noises’ from the transport secretary on the return of passenger trains to Middlewich.

The Labour MP for Weaver Vale met with Chris Grayling on Monday to discuss issues in his constituency, including the reopening of the branch line from Northwich to Sandbach.

And their meeting came just days after a stakeholder group set up by Mr Grayling heard the case for bringing trains back to Middlewich well before HS2 is launched.

“Mr Grayling has got a personal commitment to that and he wants to see it march forward,” Mr Amesbury said following the meeting.

“I am keeping the pressure on and I think other MPs are doing the same. It is a cross-party approach.

“He gave reassuring noises on it but it is important that we continue to apply the pressure, and I know the Mid Cheshire Rail Link campaign is doing that.”

The long-running campaign to reopen the Middlewich branch line appears to have moved up a gear in the past year, with Cheshire MPs including Esther McVey, secretary of state for work and pensions, brining the case to transport ministers’ attention.

The line also features in newly-unveiled transport strategies from Cheshire East Council, Cheshire West and Chester Council and the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership – but those documents point towards the line reopening after HS2 is launched in 10 to 15 years.

Stephen Dent, chairman of the Mid Cheshire Rail Link campaign, met with senior figures from those bodies along with the Department for Transport and Transport for the North in a stakeholder group meeting last week.

The meeting was also attended by Mike Roberts, deputy chairman at Roberts Bakery in Gadbrook Park, which would also get a station on the mid Cheshire branch line.

“We told them at the meeting, and Mike really pressed it, that we need the line open well before HS2,” Mr Dent said.

“I think they took everything on board regarding that.”

Accessibility improvements for disabled passengers at Northwich station were also pushed by campaigners at the stakeholder meeting on May 30.

The stakeholder group will meet again before considering a report by consultants on reopening the line at a meeting in November.