WARRINGTON’S new station will only have two trains an hour because of fears any more would cause timetable disruption across the north west.

Warrington West station in Chapelford will finally open next month.

But the timetables for the next six months show only two trains an hour in each direction to Liverpool and Manchester – not the three promised when the over budget £20.5 million project was first proposed.

And most of those trains will arrive and depart within minutes of each other.

Warrington Borough Council has put most of the money into the project.

A spokesman said: “Despite extensive efforts over the past 12 to 18 months, we have not been able to secure approval from the rail industry to operate three trains per hour in each direction at Warrington West Station.

“For the station to open, we have had to secure approval from Network Rail via its ‘Network Change’ approval process. Objections to the station having three trains per hour were lodged by both train operating companies who operate services on this line, due to timetable modelling showing that this would cause additional delay on all services operating on this line.

“Despite our best efforts and ongoing dialogue with Network Rail and the train operators, we have only been able to secure approval for two trains an hour, to allow the station to open in December.”

The council says it will continue to lobby the rail industry to increase the frequency of services.

But with work on May’s timetables already under way, it seems unlikely that will change any time soon.

A Northern spokesperson, which will operate the services, said: “We fully understand the frustration of customers awaiting the opening of Warrington West station.

“We absolutely want – and aim – to deliver three services an hour from the station. But can only do this when the current capacity issues in Manchester are resolved.

“We will be introducing two services an hour as part of the December timetable change, which is also designed to deliver improved reliability, punctuality and stability.

“Customers at Warrington West will also benefit from the introduction of our brand new trains which will call at the station as part of the Liverpool to Manchester Airport service.”

Rory Kingdon, senior sponsor for Network Rail, said: “When any new station is added to the rail network we need to make sure that any additional services or stops do not adversely impact existing trains.

“Currently this means two trains per hour will run when Warrington West station opens in December. We’ve worked closely with train operators to provide passengers in Warrington and further afield with the most reliable service when the new station opens.”