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The line is the surviving section of the Woodhead Line, which was electrified in the early 1950s but passenger services east of Hadfield were withdrawn in 1970, followed by complete closure in 1981. Hattersley was opened in 1978, around 750 m east of the then Godley, to serve the 1960s Hattersley estate, and in 1985 the Flowery Field and Godley stations were built (Godley around 500 m west of the original Godley station, then renamed Godley East). These two stations (along with Ryder Brow on the Hope Valley line) were built to a minimum standard, using hollow wooden structures compared the more grandiose stonework of original stations like Newton for Hyde or Glossop. Godley East was then closed in 1986, effectively being replaced by the newer Godley and Hattersley.
In December 1984, the Manchester–Glossop/Hadfield line electrification was converted from 1500 V DC to 25 kV AC. Class 303 EMUs took over from the veteran Class 506 units. The 303s later returned to the Glasgow area and were in turn replaced by Class 304 and Class 305 units before the more modern Class 323 units were introduced to the line in November 1997.
Other than Manchester Piccadilly, the busiest station on the line is Glossop.
The line serves the following places:
- Manchester Piccadilly
- Ashburys (originally Ashburys for Belle Vue before a station was built at Belle Vue on the Bredbury and Romiley line in the 1980s) serves the Openshaw and Beswick areas
- Guide Bridge
- Flowery Field (district of Hyde)
- Newton for Hyde
- Godley (district of Hyde)
The same train serves Glossop and Hadfield via one of three routings:
|Dinting–Glossop–Hadfield–Glossop–Dinting||All other times|
During the autumn "leaf fall" timetable this pattern is modified so that the morning rush hour pattern is extended to about midday and the evening rush hour pattern starts as soon as the morning rush hour pattern finishes.
The line also includes a closed station at Godley East. This station was originally Godley Junction and was renamed Godley when the line to Stockport was closed. The station became Godley East when the current Godley station was built slightly west in the 1980s.
There are also remnants of a platform and shelter near Gamesley, between Broadbottom and Dinting. Known as Mottram Staff Halt, it served the former Mottram Goods Yard. There are at present proposals to construct a small station for Gamesley, funding permitting, implemented in Control Period 4 (2009–2014).
In the early 1980s, proposals were put forward to convert the Glossop line to light rail operation for the proposed Manchester Metrolink system. While construction of Metrolink went ahead, the Glossop line was not included in the system. In November 2013 the Greater Manchester Combined Authority approved a recommended strategy for reconfiguring existing commuter services into tram-train operation; identifying the Glossop line as potentially suitable for conversion within Phase 2 of the tram-train strategy.
Network Rail's Route 20 NW Urban Route Plan 2008 suggested the following improvements for 2009–2014 (Control Period 4) and 2014+ (Control Period 5). Potentially introduce a new Piccadilly – Stalybridge service, helping the Hadfield/Glossop service to achieve better utilisation and consequently avoid excessive platform lengthening.
Other potential changes include raising the linespeed around Dinting triangle from the present 10 mph-40 mph to 10 mph-50 mph, and the linespeed from Guide Bridge to Dinting from 60 mph to "up to 90 mph". Raising the linespeed will help the same number of units to work a 4tph (train per hour) service when they currently can only work 3 TPH, and incidentally avoids platform lengthening that would otherwise be necessary. New turnback facility would be provided (with associated OHLE works) in the Broadbottom/Gamesley area.
A new facility to stable 20 vehicles at Guide Bridge, will be required for new vehicles to arrive as part of the DfT Rolling Stock Plan.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Glossop Line.|
- "Route 20: North West Urban" (PDF). Route Plans 2008. Network Rail. 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-22.