Rochdale railway station

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National Rail Manchester Metrolink
Rochdale railway station front entrance.jpg
Rochdale railway station in 2013
General information
LocationRochdale, Rochdale
Grid referenceSD899126
Managed byNorthern
Other information
Station codeRCD
ClassificationDfT category C2
Key dates
1839Original station opened
1889Current station opened
1979Reduced to 3 platforms
2017/18Decrease 1.236 million
2018/19Increase 1.488 million
 Interchange 39,508
2019/20Increase 1.575 million
 Interchange Increase53,120
2020/21Decrease 0.392 million
 Interchange Decrease10,335
2021/22Increase 1.157 million
 Interchange Increase38,027
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road

Rochdale railway station is a multi-modal transport hub in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England. It consists of a Northern-operated heavy rail station on the Caldervale Line, and an adjoining light rail stop on Metrolink's Oldham and Rochdale Line. The original heavy-rail element of the station was opened by the Manchester and Leeds Railway in 1839 (for economical reasons) 0.5 miles (0.80 km) to the south of Rochdale town centre. The Metrolink element opened in February 2013. Further changes to the station are planned as part of the Northern Hub rail-enhancement scheme.


Heavy rail[edit]

Frontage of Rochdale station, September 2007

The town's first station, which opened in 1839, was adjacent to Moss Lane and located around 300 yards (270 m) east of the present one.[1] The single storey structure was replaced by the current depot in April 1889, being too small to handle the increasing traffic levels on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway's main line between Leeds & Manchester and the associated branch lines to Bury (1848), Oldham (1863) and Bacup (1881) that had subsequently been opened.[2]

The present station previously served lines to Bolton (via Bury, closed in October 1970) and Bacup (closed June 1947) as well as the lines still in existence. It had eight platforms (four through platforms and four bays) and two entrances, one on Maclure Road and another on Miall Street. In 1979 the station was reduced to three platforms (with the closure and abandonment of the eastern island platform and its bays), and the Miall Street entrance was closed. Passengers thereafter had to walk through a subway from the Maclure Road entrance and climb stairs to the main concourse, which includes a ticket office and snack bar.

Currently, only the two through platforms are regularly used: the former Oldham bay platform is still available but is normally only for stabling empty stock or turning back late-running trains from the Todmorden direction. Terminating trains from Manchester and beyond use the stub of the former Oldham branch (which has been converted into a turnback siding) to reverse clear of the main line. Signalling at the station has also been modernised, with colour lights controlled from Castleton replacing the semaphores previously in use (the old signal box at Rochdale had to be demolished in 2011 as it stood in the alignment of the planned Metrolink flyover).

In 2015, construction on a fourth railway platform began.[3] The 135m-long bay platform was completed in 2016 and is used to relieve congestion at Manchester Victoria, where terminating trains would otherwise occupy the through platforms; numerous services now continue on to Rochdale as opposed to terminating at Victoria.[4] It is located at the south end of the main island platform, with the southbound through line having been re-aligned slightly further east to accommodate the new terminating line and is used by the half-hourly stopping service from Blackburn/Clitheroe via Bolton and Victoria.


Rochdale Railway Station
Metrolink station
Rochdale Railway Station Metrolink stop.jpg
The Metrolink stop at Rochdale railway station, on its opening day
General information
LocationRochdale, Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale
Line(s)Oldham and Rochdale Line
Other information
StatusIn operation
Fare zone4
Opened28 February 2013
Original companyMetrolink

Proposals to link Rochdale to a light rail system were put forward in the 1980s,[5] but remained unfunded until the 2000s. Plans to extend Greater Manchester's Metrolink light rail network to Rochdale were part expansion project Phase 3A,[6] began in 2009. Under these plans, most of the Oldham Loop line was converted to light rail operation. Northern Rail services via Oldham ceased in October 2009, when the line closed to allow this conversion work to start.[7] The Metrolink stop at Rochdale Railway Station opened to passengers on 28 February 2013.[8] Trams now pass over the main Caldervale line on a flyover before descending to street level, en route to the new stop at the front of the main line station.

A further phase of the project (Phase 3B) proposed the addition of a Metrolink branch via the old branch line via Oldham Central and the extension of the northern end of the line via a line to Rochdale Town Centre. Following the rejection of the Greater Manchester Transport Innovation Fund in a referendum in 2008, Phase 3B of the project was in doubt until new funding from national and local government enabled the project to go ahead.[6][9][10] These extensions were completed through to Oldham in January 2014 and the extension to the centre of Rochdale was completed in late March 2014.


National Rail Services[edit]

The services on this route have been revamped significantly at the December 2008 timetable change and again in May 2018. There are now six trains per hour to Manchester Victoria and three to Leeds during the daytime (Monday to Saturday) plus a fourth that runs through to Blackburn via Burnley Manchester Road following the full commissioning of the Todmorden Curve from 17 May 2015.

Four of the six Manchester trains run non-stop; the other two serve all intermediate stations. Two of the fast trains (one of which starts from Blackburn, the other from Leeds via Dewsbury) continue to Wigan Wallgate ; via Walkden and a third now runs through to Chester, whilst the two stopping trains continue to Bolton and thence Blackburn via Darwen.

Eastbound there are two trains via Bradford Interchange (one calling only at Todmorden, Hebden Bridge and Halifax, the other calling at all stations east of Todmorden) to Leeds and one via Brighouse and Dewsbury plus the Blackburn service.[11]

In the evenings there is a half-hourly service eastbound, with alternate trains extended to Leeds via Bradford or to Blackburn. Westbound there are two non-stop and two stopping trains to Manchester, with the latter continuing through towards Bolton. On Sundays there are two trains per hour each way - one Southport and Manchester to Todmorden and Blackburn service (serving all stations except Walsden) and an hourly Calder Valley service that runs non-stop to/from Manchester and then calls at stations to Hebden Bridge, but then Halifax only en-route to Bradford.

Metrolink Services[edit]

There is a basic service of five trams per hour (every 12 minutes) to Oldham and Manchester Victoria tram stop, continuing on to East Didsbury tram stop, each weekday from 06.00 until 00.30 Monday–Thursday and until 01.20 Fridays and Saturdays. On Sundays between 09.00 and 18.00, a 12-minute frequency operates and a 15-minute service outside these times.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Manchester Victoria   Northern
Calder Valley Line
Mills Hill    
    Smithy Bridge
Preceding station Manchester metrolink logo.PNG Manchester Metrolink Following station
Newbold East Didsbury–Rochdale Rochdale Town Centre
Historical railways
Milnrow   Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
Oldham Loop Line
Disused railways
Terminus   Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
Rochdale to Bacup Line
Line and station closed

Park and Ride[edit]

The station is served by a 217 space Park and Ride car park. This is located on Hare Street to the rear of the railway station. This car park is available for users of both Metrolink and rail services.

Northern Hub[edit]

Following Metrolink enhancements, £300,000 has been jointly invested by Network Rail, Northern and the GMITA to renovate the station, as part of the Department for Transport's National Station Improvement Programme. The CCTV system will be extended, and there will be upgraded toilets, improved flooring and work on the subway.[12]

A further round of upgrades and improvements to the station was announced by government in July 2012 as part of the Northern Hub rail upgrade scheme for the Manchester area.[13] These will include the provision of a new turnback facility (bay platform) for terminating trains from the Manchester direction at the south end of the station (due for completion in May 2016) and the refurbishment and recommissioning of the disused Miall St subway; this was duly reopened in July 2015.[14] Completion of the works in the Manchester area could then permit through running from the station to Manchester Airport via the new Ordsall chord as well as to Liverpool and Blackpool via Manchester Victoria.

Several of these proposals have since been included in the new Northern franchise, which became active in April 2016. The operator's new Northern Connect network will serve the station and offer through services to Liverpool and Chester via Warrington Bank Quay; there will be also extra evening and Sunday trains on the existing routes.[15]


  1. ^ Rochadale Station by John Cole; Retrieved 22 August 2013
  2. ^ "Disused Stations - Rochdale (First station)"Disused Stations Site Record; Retrieved 16 May 2016
  3. ^ "New bay platform at Rochdale Train Station". Rochdale Online. 16 November 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  4. ^ "First phase of work to upgrade railway between Littleborough and Manchester Victoria completed". Rochdale Online. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  5. ^ Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (1984), Light Rapid Transit in Greater Manchester - publicity brochure
  6. ^ a b Linton, Deborah (13 May 2009). "£1.4bn transport deal unveiled". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 17 May 2009.
  7. ^ "Metrolink Oldham and Rochdale line". Transport for Greater Manchester. 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  8. ^ "Next stop: Rochdale!". Transport for Greater Manchester. 20 February 2013. Archived from the original on 23 May 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  9. ^ "Tram line extension is approved". BBC News. 13 May 2009. Retrieved 17 May 2009.
  10. ^ "Metrolink: back on track?". BBC Manchester. 13 May 2009. Retrieved 17 May 2009.
  11. ^ Table 41 National Rail timetable, December 2019
  12. ^ "UK News in Brief" (PDF). Railway Herald. No. 215. Scunthorpe. 15 March 2010. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  13. ^ "Rochdale Station to be main Line in £322 million Northern Hub railway plan". Rochdale Observer. 21 July 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  14. ^ Wilson, Sammi (10 July 2015). "Rochdale station subway re-opens after 36 years". Rochdale News. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  15. ^ "Northern Franchise Improvements". Department for Transport.



  • The Manchester and Leeds Railway by Martin Bairstow
  • Lost Railways of Lancashire by Gordon Suggitt (ISBN 1-85306-801-2)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°36′36″N 2°09′15″W / 53.610°N 2.1541°W / 53.610; -2.1541