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Stockport to Stalybridge Line


Stockport to Stalybridge Line

Stockport to Stalybridge Line
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale Greater Manchester
North West England
Owner Network Rail
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Stockport to
Stalybridge Line
Huddersfield Line
to Huddersfield
Micklehurst Line
Huddersfield Line
to Manchester Victoria
Ashton Park Parade
Dukinfield and Ashton
Dukinfield Central
Glossop Line /
Hope Valley Line
to Huddersfield Line
Guide Bridge
Glossop Line
to Manchester Piccadilly
Hooley Hill
Denton Junction
M67 motorway
M60 motorway
Hope Valley Line
Reddish South*
West Coast Main Line
to Manchester Piccadilly
Heaton Norris
Stockport, Timperley and
Altrincham Junction Railway
West Coast Main Line
to Crewe & Stafford

* Served on Fridays only.

The Stockport to Stalybridge Line is a short railway line in Greater Manchester, running from Stockport north east to Stalybridge. The line is today mostly used by freight and empty stock workings. Although it once received a frequent passenger service,[1] for over a decade it has been served by a single train run by Northern Rail, once a week in one direction.

This minimal service, termed a parliamentary train for historical reasons, is often seen in the case of this line as to avoid the official procedures involved in terminating the passenger service. In this case, the re-routing of Trans-Pennine express services from Leeds and points east to Manchester Piccadilly from Manchester Victoria in May 1989 removed the main reason for its existence. Following the changeover, passengers who formerly used the Stalybridge - Stockport shuttle to avoid the need to change stations in Manchester (if heading from Yorkshire to Stockport and beyond or vice versa) could travel via Manchester Piccadilly and change there instead. Ironically the northern part of the route (from Guide Bridge to Stalybridge) is now busier than ever, as it is used by the re-routed express services between Leeds & Manchester Piccadilly.

The scarcity of services on the line has led to it becoming popular with rail enthusiasts, as well as real ale connoisseurs visiting the Station Buffet at Stalybridge.

The line serves the following places:

This service operates on a Friday morning, leaving Stockport at 9:22 and arriving at Stalybridge at 9:43 (with the headcode 2J45[2][3]).


  • History 1
    • Guide Bridge avoiding line 1.1
  • Closure 2
  • References 3


The southern stretch of the line between Stockport and Guide Bridge was built by the Manchester and Birmingham Railway, at around the time of its merger into the London and North Western Railway (LNWR). The contract was let to John Brogden and Sons in October 1845.[4]

The northern section from Guide Bridge to Stalybridge was built by the Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester Railway in 1845. This later became part of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR).

1912 map of railways around Guide Bridge and Stalybridge.

Guide Bridge avoiding line

Congestion around Guide Bridge led to the LNWR building a new line to avoid Guide Bridge station. Known as the Stalybridge Junction Railway, it ran from Denton Junction, then under the MS&LR main line east of Guide Bridge, and then ran parallel to the existing Guide Bridge-Stalybridge line. The line was completed in 1893, and had stations at Hooley Hill and Dukinfield and Ashton. A local Stockport-Stalybridge passenger service ran on this line until 25 September 1950. The line was dismantled in the early 1970s.[5][6]


Network Rail, in their Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) for the North West, proposed closure of Reddish South and Denton stations and withdrawal of the remaining passenger service. The report noted however that the cost of withdrawing the service (closure notices, dealing with objections, etc.) would be greater than the costs of operating the weekly service (Network Rail, in their North Western RUS, noted that the cost of each trip was just £96). The line itself would have remained open for freight and diverted passenger workings.[7] The threat was withdrawn, possibly temporarily, in May 2007[8] when GMPTE suggested it was to support three trains per hour between Stockport and Manchester Victoria.[9]

In September 2006, Grand Central, an open access train operating company, had proposed using the line for passenger services between London Euston and Bradford Interchange via the West Coast Main Line, using Stockport, Guide Bridge and Stalybridge stations as a stop. These proposals were withdrawn in August 2008.


  1. ^ Astley, Conrad (28 May 2004). "Ghost train in reverse gear". Manchester Evening News (M.E.N. Media). Retrieved 11 October 2006. 
  2. ^ "Section CL04 Stockport to Guide Bridge & Ashton Moss North Jn" (PDF). Working Timetable Book CL. Network Rail. 19 May 2013. p. 1, col. 3. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  3. ^ "Section YG01 Leeds and Wakefield Westgate to Guide Bridge" (PDF). Working Timetable Book YG. Network Rail. 19 May 2013. p. 67, col. 81. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Directors’ Minutes: Manchester and Birmingham Railway Co, Public Record Office, RAIL 454/3 and the contract 454/11
  5. ^ "Stalybridge Junction Railway". Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Suggitt, Gordon. Lost Railways of Merseyside & Greater Manchester. Countryside Books. pp. 114–115.  
  7. ^ Network Rail (10 November 2006). "North West Route Utilisation Strategy (draft)". Retrieved 14 November 2006. 
  8. ^ Rooth, Ben (4 May 2007). "Rail bosses lift axe threat". Manchester Evening News (M.E.N. Media). Retrieved 6 May 2007. 
  9. ^ Devine, Peter (2 May 2007). "Reddish station back on track". Stockport Express (M.E.N. Media). Retrieved 3 March 2008. 
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