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North West England
Yorkshire and the Humber
|Track gauge||Standard gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
The Huddersfield line is one of the busiest rail lines on the West Yorkshire MetroTrain network in Northern England. Local services are operated by Northern with longer distance services operated by TransPennine Express. The line connects Leeds and Huddersfield with Manchester (Victoria & Piccadilly), Manchester Airport and Liverpool.
The route travels SSW from Leeds through Dewsbury. After a short westward stretch through Mirfield (where it runs on the ex-L&YR section), it continues SW through Huddersfield, using the River Colne valley to its headwaters. The long Standedge Tunnel just after Marsden crosses under the watershed and the majority of the run down to Manchester is in the Tame valley. After Manchester, the line reaches the Liverpool and Manchester Railway line over Chat Moss to Liverpool.
At the time of the 1923 Grouping most of the route followed by the line was over London and North Western Railway (LNWR) metals, the exception being a short stretch around Mirfield which was the property of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (L&YR). The first section of the line, between Huddersfield and Stalybridge, was opened by the Manchester, Stockport and Leeds Railway on 1 August 1849. The line became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway after 1923.
Metro (West Yorkshire) pre-paid tickets and concessionary fares are available between Leeds and Marsden. Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) fares are available for the Greenfield-Manchester section. Several of the intermediate stations listed were closed in the 1960s (as a result of the Beeching Axe, including many of those between Huddersfield & Manchester). All stations that are still open are in bold:
- Copley Hill
- Farnley and Wortley
- Cottingley (Leeds)
- Staincliffe & Batley Carr
- Dewsbury: previously Dewsbury (Wellington Road)
- Ravensthorpe was named Ravensthorpe and Thornhill
- Mirfield L&YR junctions here to Low Moor (closed) and Halifax (the Caldervale Line): the service from the Huddersfield Line operates to Brighouse
- Heaton Lodge/Heckmondwike Junctions return the route to the ex-LNWR line
- Huddersfield: served by the Caldervale and Penistone lines. The railway station here was LNWR/L&YR joint owned.
- here is Springwood Tunnel and Springwood Junction for the trains on the Penistone line
- Longwood and Milnsbridge
- Standedge Tunnel: three parallel tunnels, two single-line, one double, 5340 yd (4806 m) in length
- Diggle Junction with line to Stalybridge via Friezland
- Manchester Victoria
- Manchester Piccadilly
- Irlam (peak only)
- Manchester Oxford Road
- Warrington Central
- Hunts Cross (peak only)
- Liverpool Lime Street
Owing to a large number of easily accessed and nationally acclaimed pubs along the route (including pubs on the station platforms at Dewsbury, Huddersfield and Stalybridge), an "ale trail" along the route has become popular. Of particular interest are:
- West Riding Licensed Refreshment Rooms (on the platform at Dewsbury Station, 2006 runner up CAMRA National Pub of the Year)
- The Kings Head, formerly known as The Station Tavern, in the east wing of Huddersfield station
- The Head of Steam in the west wing of Huddersfield Station
- The Commercial, The Shoulder of Mutton and The Swan in Slaithwaite
- Riverhead, Marsden (with the Riverhead Brewery in the basement, in the town a little down from the station and tunnels)
- Station Buffet at Stalybridge (original Victorian Station Buffet with marble counter, on the platform at Stalybridge station)
The Trail featured on the BBC Oz and James Drink to Britain programme and consequently became very popular for drinkers in Manchester and Leeds. This has prompted some concerns over anti-social behaviour in the villages along the Trail.
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