The number of train services running from Chester to Manchester Airport will triple from today (May 16).

An application from Arriva Trains Wales to extend their existing agreement has been approved by independent regulators, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

The move will see the number of direct trains from North Wales to Manchester Airport, through Chester, Frodsham and Helsby, increase from 17 to 57 weekly.

Trains will start at Llandudno .

Arriva say the extension will bring 'strong economic benefits,' as well as improved access to the airport for many North Wales residents.

Arriva Trains Wales managing director Ian Bullock said: “We are extremely pleased that the Office of Rail and Road has approved our application for the rights to extend services to Manchester Airport.

“We had significant customer and stakeholder support for this extension, including from Edwina Hart, former AM and minister for economy, science and transport, local AMs and MPs.

Chester Railway Station stock image
Chester Railway Station stock image

'40 extra trains every week'

“We will now run an additional 40 direct train services every week from North Wales through to the airport and return.

“This will complement the existing 17 trains a week to make a total of 57 direct, return journeys connecting North Wales to the rest of the world via Manchester Airport.”

Related story: Direct trains from Frodsham and Helsby to Liverpool move step closer

But Network Rail feared the increase would bring 'unmanageable pressure' on train performance and impact on other rail operators.

Reacting to the plans at the time, a spokesperson said: “Network Rail and others were asked for views (by the Office of Rail and Road).

“We provided a response in February and, along with others, raised concerns that the increased number of trains could negatively affect the reliability of the railway for passengers.”

But they said they would 'act in accordance' with the ORR’s decision.

Arriva Trains Wales service
Arriva Trains Wales service

Business surveys have revealed significantly more Welsh residents fly from Manchester than any other airport.

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According to the latest figures released by the Civil Aviation authority, more than 849,000 Welsh residents used Manchester Airport in 2014.

Mr Bullock added: “Our stakeholders and customers have been keen that we improve the access for people to travel direct by train along the North Wales coast to Manchester Airport (and vice versa) and that this service extension will bring significant benefits to the economy of North Wales.”

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