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West Midlands (region)
North West England
|Operator(s)||East Midlands Trains
|Line length||53.9 miles (86.7 km)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The Stafford–Manchester line is a branch of the West Coast Main Line (Network Rail Route 18) serving Stafford, Norton Bridge, Stone, Stoke-on-Trent, Kidsgrove, Congleton, Macclesfield, Cheadle Hulme, Stockport and Manchester.
CrossCountry services operate between Birmingham New Street / The South Country and Manchester Piccadilly. Between Cheadle Hulme (where it joins the Crewe–Manchester line) and Manchester, the line forms part of Network Rail Route 20.
Local services between Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent (calling at Stone) are operated by London Midland, as part of the London-Crewe service started in December 2008. Between 2004 and 2008 there was no stopping service on the route, with a replacement bus service taking its place. However Wedgwood, Barlaston and Norton Bridge stations are still without a train service although they were never officially closed and are still served by rail-replacement bus services.
Frequent local services between Stoke-on-Trent and Manchester are operated by Northern Rail.
East Midlands Trains
The line was completed in 1848 and incorporated the main line of the North Staffordshire Railway from the junction with the London and North Western Railway at Norton Bridge via its principal station at Stoke-on-Trent to Macclesfield where it made a running junction again with the LNWR, which had its own station at Macclesfield (Hibel Road), which was closed by British Rail. The North Staffordshire Railway became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway in 1923.
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Route map: Google