Pressure to reopen a former railway station on the Chester-Liverpool line close to 2,000 new homes which are being built may not emerge for at least another 10 years, it has been suggested.
A suggestion that Ledsham station should re-open in the expanding Ellesmere Port suburb has been put forward by Nigel Jones, Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Ellesmere Port and Neston.
Cllr Jones, a borough councillor in the constituency, called for the re-opening of Ledsham station between Capenhurst and Hooton, one of the original stations on the Chester to Birkenhead line.
It closed in 1959 following a decline in passengers due to its location.
The platforms remained until the 1990s when they were affected by a realignment of the A550 Welsh Road.
The Tory hopeful believes it’s now time to re-open the train station to ease traffic congestion on key roads through Ledsham.
Conservatives point out local residents have expressed concerns about the ability of road connections in the area to cope with the new people moving into the development.
Cllr Jones said: “There are thousands of new homes on their way in Ledsham and it’s essential that we have the right infrastructure for new and old residents alike.
“The Ledsham station closed in 1959 but with so many new families and commuters moving in to the area it's time to reopen it again and make it easier for people to travel to Liverpool and down to Chester.”
He has written to the chairman of Merseyrail making the case for the reopening of the station.
Ledsham and Manor Action Group (LAMAG) has explained it raised the issue during the planning applications for the new homes now approved for Redrow.
It was told a number of issues were likely to affect the reopening of the station including the availability of land with two roads crossing the railway.
Passenger demand would be likely to be limited ‘particularly when there are three other stations within a short distance that would experience a reduction in passengers as they move to the new station’.
This would affect the liability of those stations, particularly Little Sutton.
The construction costs would be ‘considerable’ and a scheme funded solely by the new homes would not be viable while highway improvements would add considerably to the cost.
An assessment in 2013 revealed the topic had been discussed ‘at length’ with the borough council and a number of meetings had taken place with the council, Merseyrail, Merseytravel and Network Rail.
Three options had been considered and Network Rail had concluded each would require ‘significant investment’.
An additional stop at Ledsham would affect the timetable without track and signalling alterations and an additional train and crew as well as involving the capital costs of a new station and a likely subsidy in the initial years of the new service.
It was agreed that these costs and changes were ‘significant’ and could not be supported by the new homes which were then proposed.
A source within LAMAG believes pressure to re-open the station will come from the new residents as their numbers increase.
But that is not likely before at ‘least another 10 years’ and even then the questions of costs and viability will still remain it is felt.