|Line length||8.14 mi (13.10 km)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The Stockport–Stalybridge line is a short railway line in Greater Manchester, running from Stockport north east to Stalybridge. The line is today mostly used by freight and empty stock workings. Although it once received a frequent passenger service, since 1992 it has been served by a single train run by Northern, once a week in both directions, usually operated by a Class 142 Pacer.
This minimal service, termed a parliamentary train for historical reasons, is often seen in the case of this line as to avoid the official procedures involved in terminating the passenger service. In this case, the re-routeing of Trans-Pennine express services from Leeds and points east to Manchester Piccadilly station from Manchester Victoria in May 1989 removed the main reason for its passenger service. Following the changeover, passengers who formerly used the Stalybridge–Stockport shuttle to avoid the need to change stations in Manchester (if heading from Yorkshire to Stockport and beyond or vice versa) could travel via Manchester Piccadilly and change there instead. The service was initially reduced to five trains per day (three in one direction and two the other), but by 1992 had been cut to its present minimal level. The northern part of the route (from Guide Bridge to Stalybridge) is now busier than ever, as it is used by the re-routed express services between Leeds & Manchester Piccadilly.
The line serves the following places:
The southern stretch of the line between Stockport and Guide Bridge was built by the Manchester and Birmingham Railway, at around the time of its merger into the London and North Western Railway (LNWR). The contract was let to John Brogden and Sons in October 1845.
The northern section from Guide Bridge to Stalybridge was built by the Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester Railway in 1845. This later became part of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR).
Guide Bridge avoiding line
Congestion around Guide Bridge led to the LNWR building a new line to avoid Guide Bridge station. Known as the Stalybridge Junction Railway, it ran from Denton Junction, then under the MS&LR main line east of Guide Bridge, and then ran parallel to the existing Guide Bridge-Stalybridge line. The line was completed in 1893, and had stations at Hooley Hill and Dukinfield and Ashton. A local Stockport-Stalybridge passenger service ran on this line until 25 September 1950. The line was dismantled in the early 1970s.
Network Rail, in their Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) for the North West, proposed closure of Reddish South and Denton stations and withdrawal of the remaining passenger service. The report noted however that the cost of withdrawing the service (closure notices, dealing with objections, etc.) would be greater than the costs of operating the weekly service (Network Rail, in their North Western RUS, noted that the cost of each trip was just £96). The line itself would have remained open for empty stock transfers, freight and diverted passenger workings. The threat was withdrawn, possibly temporarily, in May 2007 when GMPTE suggested it was to support three trains per hour between Stockport and Manchester Victoria.
In September 2006, Grand Central, an open access train operating company, had proposed using the line for passenger services between London Euston and Bradford Interchange via the West Coast Main Line, using Stockport, Guide Bridge and Stalybridge stations as a stop. These proposals were withdrawn in August 2008.
In the 20 May 2018 timetable changes, Northern introduced a second journey on the line, as well as shifting the day of operation to Sarurday. The first train departs Stalybridge at 08:46 to arrive into Stockport at 09:09, this train will have the reporting number 2J44. The train then makes a return journey leaving Stockport at 09:45 and arriving into Stalybridge at 10:06, with the original train reporting number, 2J45. These services operate every Saturday from 26 May 2018, instead of Fridays as in previous years, and will call at the intermediate stations on both journeys. This means that Reddish South and Denton are now receiving two passenger services per week in the timetable for the first time since 1992.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Stockport–Stalybridge line.|
Route map: Google
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- Vallantine, Stuart (3 March 2007). "Point of No Return: All Aboard the Ghost Train". East of the M60. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
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- 2J44 0846 Stalybridge to Stockport, 26 May 2018Realtime Trains website; Retrieved 7 May 2018
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