CREWE will cash in on an £18m boost to the region's economy as Cheshire officially teams up with Liverpool Capital of Culture.
The town's landmark railway station will play a vital role in welcoming an expected 300,000 extra visitors to Cheshire during Liverpool's 2008 Capital of Culture year.
As one of the UK's busiest stations, it is estimated up to two million extra rail passengers could pass through Crewe during the year with the town receiving a major boost in tourism and trade.
Tourist board Visit Chester and Cheshire, along with Cheshire County Council and the North West Development
Agency, got together at the station, saying they believe it will play a crucial role in bringing visitors to some of Cheshire's historic gardens and other attractions.
Next year will officially be Cheshire's Year of Gardens, an ambitious programme of music, art, theatre, horticulture and food and drink events across the county.
Tourism chief executive Chris Brown said Crewe and the surrounding areas were natural partners to Liverpool's year-long celebration.
'What we are launching at Crewe is a global proposition with enormous potential for the future of our visitor economy.
'Crewe is a logical place to launch our scheme, and the intention is that when you come back in a year or so from now, you will arrive at Crewe to see evidence of how the station has worked with us to develop the concept and boost the local economy.'
The gardens project will be managed by a steering group chaired by former BBC North West correspondent Felicity Goodey, who led the project to develop the Lowry Theatre and gallery complex at Salford Quays near Manchester.
She said: 'This is about much more than one year.
'By promoting, developing and sharing this rich and cultural garden heritage, Cheshire looks forward to welcoming many more visitors from out-side the county and in the process create real economic benefits for the people of Cheshire and the North West as a whole.'
Former Crewe and Nantwich mayor Steve Roberts, who works at the station, said he looked forward to seeing Crewe bloom in the coming years.
'We've led the way because we've had a lot of flowers at the station for quite some time, and they've really picked the place up.
'Hopefully we can encourage people to become a bit more green-fingered and to make the most of what Crewe has to offer as well.'