Denton railway station

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Denton National Rail
Denton railway station (14).JPG
Place Denton
Local authority Tameside
Coordinates 53°27′27″N 2°07′50″W / 53.4575°N 2.1306°W / 53.4575; -2.1306Coordinates: 53°27′27″N 2°07′50″W / 53.4575°N 2.1306°W / 53.4575; -2.1306
Grid reference SJ914956
Station code DTN
Managed by Northern
Number of platforms 2
DfT category F2
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2011/12 Decrease 30
2012/13 Increase 194
2013/14 Decrease 110
2014/15 Increase 120
2015/16 Decrease 74
Passenger Transport Executive
PTE Transport for Greater Manchester
Key dates Opened 1882 (1882)
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Denton from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal

Denton railway station is a station in Denton, Greater Manchester, on the Stockport-Stalybridge line, famous for having one train a week in one direction only (currently calling on Friday mornings at 9:32am), christened the "Denton Flyer".[1] With 30 passenger entries and exits between April 2011 and March 2012, Denton is the third-least used station in Great Britain. By 2015-16 the estimate of station usage has little changed with 37 passenger journeys recorded for an entire year on the once weekly train to Stalybridge.[2] The next station along the line at Reddish South had just 18 recorded passenger journeys during this same year and both stations are in the top six least used railway stations in the United Kingdom.

The orientation of the line running south-west to north-east is a clue to the origin of Denton Station that stands on the former main line of the London & North Western Railway between Crewe and Leeds via Stockport. The London & North Western Railway had already completed its line to Manchester via Stockport and now looked to expand to reach the woollen districts of the West Riding of Yorkshire building its magnificent quadruple tracks all the way to Huddersfield and Leeds via the Standedge tunnel. It is documented in the railway books of several respected authors [3]

On the platform, as of 2007, only one or two signs remain that bear the station name to the public. The Network/National Rail website (as of 2011), in its "Station Plan" shows a bench as the sole passenger facility at the station. There is no working lighting.

A 1912 Railway Clearing House Junction Diagram showing railways in the vicinity of Denton (bottom left)

North of here at Denton Junction the line divides, with the main passenger line to Guide Bridge and the now little used branch to Ashton Moss. This latter route is normally used only by freight and empty stock transfer workings but is used also for diversions if the main line between Stockport and Manchester Piccadilly is closed for engineering work.

A further line to Droylsden diverged from this (34 chains (680 m) further on at Ashton Moss Junction), which at one time was used by direct trains from the East Lancashire Line to London Euston. That line was closed in 1969 and subsequently lifted.

The station is a request stop, having two platforms in an island layout. In theory, prospective passengers must flag down the train as it approaches the station. However, in practice the train usually stops at every station on the line even if no passenger is waiting.


The line between Guide Bridge & Heaton Norris Jcn (north of Stockport) was surveyed by the Manchester and Birmingham Railway in 1845 (shortly before it became part of the London and North Western Railway), and opened in 1849. A new station was opened by the LNWR in 1888[4] and the route was quadrupled in 1889. In pre-grouping days, it was well served by trains from Stockport to Ashton, Oldham, Rochdale and Stalybridge. A very limited passenger service ran to Manchester. Stalybridge could also be reached via Hooley Hill and the Stalybridge Junction Railway. This route was opened in 1882 [5] by the LNWR to avoid the congested junction at Guide Bridge, but closed to passengers in 1950.

The older route via Guide Bridge remained a useful link between the northern & southern Manchester rail networks and this ensured its continued use during British Rail days, right up until the late 1980s - prior to May 1989, an hourly service ran on weekdays along the route and a regular service on Sundays (though the latter didn't call here). The re-routing of the Leeds - Huddersfield - Manchester express service to Piccadilly station at the May 1989 timetable change made the service essentially redundant though (travellers could then access south Manchester services directly at Piccadilly) and its frequency was substantially cut - by 1992 it had been reduced to just a single weekly train (the statutory minimum level necessary to avoid the requirement for formal closure proceedings).


An excursion from Preston to Buxton hauled by West Coast Rail Class 57 57313 at the Stockport-bound platform in September 2016

Network Rail, in their Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) for the North West, were proposing closure of Reddish South and Denton stations and withdrawal of the remaining passenger service. The line itself would remain open for freight and diverted passenger workings. However, a new open-access operator called Grand Union had proposed using the line for services between London and Bradford via the West Coast Main Line, using Guide Bridge station as a stop. That proposal has since been dropped.

The promotion of a passenger service through Denton Station seems uncertain whilst the future of freight traffic seems more assured as evidenced by the North West Rail Utilisation Strategy May 2007 of Network Rail.[6] A more frequent service was considered for the 2008 timetable shakeup, which was designed to implement major changes to service patterns on the West Coast Main Line; however, because of the track layout and congestion at Heaton Norris, operational analysis suggests 'Timetabling the move across Heaton Norris is very likely to be problematic. Performance could be impacted by the crossing move at Heaton Norris Junction. If there are two passenger trains an hour on this line, it will be more difficult to hold freight trains on the Denton line, additionally affecting performance'.[7]

The Stalybridge (Denton) Line runs alongside the WCML between Stockport and Heaton Norris Junction

'[Reddish South and] Denton receives a minimal (once a week) service because anticipated demand has not justified increasing it. The operating cost of providing a service at this station exceeds the revenue and socio-economic benefit they generate, even before periodic renewal costs are considered'.[8] It further goes on to say that for Passenger effects 'The stations are both served by one train a week on a Saturday, in one direction only. A full impact analysis would be required prior to formal closure procedures, but it is reasonable to assume that any journey that could be made using this service could equally well be made by another mode. Data collection including observation on a representative Saturday has been unable to record any use of these stations. Consultation respondents cautioned against this option whilst uncertainty remains about local regeneration'.

There is however an issue with this statement that the one train a week service is on a Friday and not a Saturday {see below under 'Service'} and so it is most unlikely any passenger activity will be recorded.

The future of freight using the line through Denton seems to be more assured. It is proposed to improve gauge clearance to allow intermodal trains to/from Trafford Park to divert via Denton. A lack of a diversionary route for some freight trains to/from Trafford Park causes poor performance when there is disruption on the primary route. It also means that this traffic cannot run when there is a planned closure of the route. It is proposed to carry out this work provided it can be done at little or no extra cost through renewal works.[9]

In the 2012 North West Route Utilisation Strategy - Final Recommendations it was reported that provision of W9 and W10 gauge clearance that will allow intermodal trains to/from Trafford Park to divert via Denton, thus improving performance when the primary route is disrupted or closed (when traffic can not run) had been implemented.[10] There were no remarks concerning RUS 5.3.2. the Stockport corridor.


The once-weekly service calls on Friday mornings at 09:32, en route to Guide Bridge and Stalybridge (where it terminates at 09:43). No trains call on other days or in the opposite direction towards Stockport.[11]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Office of Rail and Road - Estimates of Station Usage 15-16 accessed 7 February 2017
  3. ^ Mark Casson, The World’s First Railway System: Enterprise, Competition and Regulation on the Railway Network in Victorian Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, p123.
  4. ^ Railway Company Drawings and Track Plans, ref. No. 21751 – Denton – dated 2 March 1888 (York: National Railway Museum).
  5. ^ Geoffrey O. Holt, A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain Volume 10: The North West, Newton Abbot: David & Charles 1978, p.155.
  6. ^
  7. ^ p61 para 5.3.2. Stockport corridor Option 1: Stockport - Victoria service
  8. ^ p65 para 5.3.2. Stockport corridor Option 8: Close [Reddish South and] Denton Station
  9. ^ p73 para 5.3.3. Marple corridor Option 3: East Manchester Gauge
  10. ^ p2 ID:18 North West RUS 5.3.3 Marple corridor option 3: East Manchester Gauge
  11. ^ GB eNRT May 2016 Edition, Table 78A (Network Rail)

External links[edit]

Preceding station   National Rail National Rail   Following station
Stockport-Stalybridge Line
Friday only
Disused railways
Terminus London and North Western Railway
Line and station closed