Marple railway station
The station in 2015
|Number of platforms||2|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections|
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|Passenger Transport Executive|
|PTE||Transport for Greater Manchester|
|Key dates||Opened 1865|
|National Rail – UK railway stations|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Marple from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
Marple railway station is on the Hope Valley Line and serves Marple, in the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport, Greater Manchester, England. It is 8.9 miles (14.3 km) south east of Manchester Piccadilly. Its three letter station code is MPL. The station, opened in 1865 by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway, was demolished and rebuilt in 1970. It is managed and served by Northern, who provide two trains per hour in each direction.
The station is located to the east of Marple, next to Marple Bridge, close to Brabyns Park and the Peak Forest Canal. The A626 runs over a bridge just next to the station and provides access to it. The next station towards Piccadilly is Romiley; the next towards Sheffield is Strines.
The station has two side platforms, each 153 yards (140 m) long; platform 2 can be accessed from the ticket office, and platform 1 only by a footbridge over the station, which can also be reached with a lift. The ticket office is staffed during the day and there are benches, toilets and a waiting room on the platform. Passenger information systems include dot-matrix displays and an automated public-address system announce approaching services. Timetable information posters are provided and help points allow passengers to contact railway staff. To the east of the station there is a free car park and the nearest bus stops are 150 metres (160 yd) away on Brabyns Brow.
In 2014/15, 455,470 entries and exits were recorded at the station, making it the sixth busiest within Stockport and the busiest on the Hope Valley Line after Manchester Piccadilly and Sheffield. This is a decrease from 475,192 from the 2013/14, the first since 2009/10.
All services at Marple are operated by Northern, using mainly Class 142 Pacer diesel multiple units, due to the line not being electrified. When Arriva UK Trains took over the Northern franchise in April 2016, a commitment was made for all Pacers to be replaced with new trains by 2020. The remainder of services are provided by Class 150 Sprinter DMUs, made available by the cascading of units from London Midland.
The station is well served by trains to and from Manchester Piccadilly on weekdays, with two services per hour during the daytime (reducing to hourly in the evening). There are two services per hour eastwards to New Mills on weekdays (hourly in the evenings) and a two-hourly extension along the Hope Valley to Sheffield. One peak hour service also originates here.
Tickets to and from Rose Hill are valid on board all Manchester Piccadilly bound trains from Marple Station.
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
The line was built in conjunction with the Midland Railway's extension of its line to Millers Dale, thus it was also used by the latter's trains from London to Manchester Store Street (later called London Road, now Piccadilly). Until the Midland moved to Manchester Central, in 1880, as a member of the Cheshire Lines Committee, Marple was where carriages for Liverpool would be attached or detached.
At the time it had extensive station buildings, the Midland waiting room having upholstered seats and a coal fire in an attractive fireplace for cold winter days. It was rebuilt in 1970, with the MS&L facilities being demolished, and new brick buildings replacing the Midland's offices.
From Marple to Romiley, the line passes through Marple Tunnel to the junction with the short branch to Rose Hill Marple, then over the 308-yard (282 m) long stone viaduct that crosses the River Goyt and the Peak Forest Canal. Alongside the viaduct is the Marple Aqueduct, which carries the Peak Forest Canal over the River Goyt.
Agatha Christie's Miss Marple
In 1902, when Agatha Christie was twelve, her sister Margaret married James Watts and they lived at Abney Hall, Cheadle. Christie, encouraged by Watts to write, was a frequent visitor to Abney Hall from a young age into adulthood. The area around the hall and Cheadle inspired many settings within her books. Due to living in Devon, Christie often used the railway to travel up to what was then Cheshire, by connecting from the Midland Main Line from London St Pancras onto the Hope Valley Line, and passing through Marple. It is theorised that at some point, a train was delayed there for long enough for the station sign to stick in her mind, to resurface in 1932 at the publication of the first novel featuring the detective Jane Marple.
As part of Manchester's Transport Innovation Fund bid in 2008, which would see a weekday peak time congestion charge introduced on roads into the city centre in order for a £3bn injection into the region's public transport, Marple would have seen an increase to four services per hour in both directions throughout the day to Manchester Piccadilly. The line would have effectively been run as a metro-style operation, offering users of Marple and other stations along the route the ease of showing up without needing to know exact departure times. However, no "station improvements" are planned, despite the comparatively high usage of this suburban station. The rejection of the TIF plans in a public referendum in December 2008 (by a 4 to 1 majority) led to the plans being abandoned in April 2010.
- Marshall, John (1981). Forgotten Railways: North West England. David & Charles. p. 30. ISBN 978-0715380031.
- "National Rail Train Operators" (PDF). National Rail. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
- "Marple Station plan". National Rail. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
- "Marple Station: Onward Travel Information" (PDF). Network Rail. 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
- "Station Usage Estimates 2014/15". Office of Rail and Road. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
- Topham, Gwyn (9 December 2015). "Arriva and FirstGroup win Northern and TransPennine rail franchises". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
- Cox, Charlotte (22 January 2016). "'Outdated and unpopular' Pacer trains set to be replaced". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
- Salveson, Paul. "The Hope Valley Line: Through the Heart of the Peak" (PDF). Today's Railways UK. 121: 45. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
- "Northern Timetable 22 - Manchester to New Mills Central and Rose Hill" (PDF). Northern. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
- "Northern Timetable 23 - Manchester to Sheffield: The Hope Valley Line" (PDF). Northern. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
- King, Ray (15 September 2010). "Was Miss Marple born in Cheshire?". Cheshire Life. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
- Wagstaff, Vanessa; Poole, Stephen (2004). Agatha Christie: A Readers Companion. p. 14. ISBN 1-84513-015-4.
- "C-charge: A resounding 'NO'" Ottewell, David, Manchester Evening News 19 April 2010; Retrieved 1 April 2016
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