- Buxton Line
Buxton Line Overview Type Heavy rail System National Rail Status Operational Locale North West England
Termini Buxton Operation Owner Network Rail Operator(s) Northern Rail Character Branch line Depot(s) Longsight Depot Rolling stock Class 150
Technical No. of tracks Two Track gauge Standard gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) Buxton LineLegend Manchester Piccadilly Transpennine Line Liverpool to and Glossop Line Manchester Line Levenshulme Heaton Chapel West Coast Main Line Stockport Davenport Cowburn Tunnel Woodsmoor Hazel Grove Hope Valley Line Middlewood Middlewood Tunnel Disley Disley Tunnel New Mills Newtown Furness Vale Whaley Bridge Cromford and Chapel-en-le-Frith High Peak Railway Eaves Tunnel Dove Holes Tunnel Barmoor Clough Tunnel Dove Holes Buxton LNWR Millers Dale and Midland (closed) Former line to Matlock Goods Depot Higher Buxton Stub of former Ashbourne Line
The Buxton Line is a railway line in northern England, connecting Manchester with Buxton in Derbyshire. Passenger services on the line are currently operated by Northern Rail and most continue through Manchester from Blackpool North.
It has its origins with the Stockport, Disley and Whaley Bridge Railway, which the LNWR built to connect with the Cromford and High Peak Railway at Whaley Bridge. In 1863, it built an extension from Whaley Bridge, via Chapel en le Frith to Buxton. This forestalled the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway's plans for the area, and also the Midland Railway's attempts to reach Manchester.
The latter two railways were forced to combine forces in a line following the LNWR, but north of it, through New Mills (part of what is now known as the Hope Valley Line), branching at Millers Dale. As a result, Buxton, one of the largest towns in the Peak, never achieved main line status.
The LNWR had in fact, offered the use of the line (at a price, no doubt) but, with its climb through Dove Holes, the Midland did not consider it useful for express trains, saying that it went up a steep hill merely for the sake of going down. The LNWR may have saved costs in construction but it proved difficult to operate, even with the powerful locomotives they had been forced to introduce for their lines north of Manchester. In later days, a seventeen mile stretch was operated using banking engines, the longest such section on the British railway system. In 1957 there was a serious accident at Chapel-en-le-Frith in which driver John Axon, who died at his post attempting to control a runaway goods train, received the George Cross medal.
The line was electrified, at 25 kV AC overhead, between Manchester and Hazel Grove in 1981. Colour light signalling, controlled from LNWR built boxes at Edgeley Junction and Hazel Grove, covers the line as far as Norbury crossing, which itself has a small hut controlling two semaphore signals in the Middlewood area. Farther south, signalling is mostly semaphore and is controlled from boxes at Furness Vale, Chapel-en-le-Frith and Buxton.
Present day services
Over the section between Edgeley Junction and Hazel Grove there are four trains per hour in each direction, more frequently at peak hours. The Manchester to Buxton service runs hourly, combining with an hourly Manchester Piccadilly to Hazel Grove service to give Davenport, Woodsmoor and Hazel Grove stations a half hourly off peak service to and from Manchester.
South of Hazel Grove, the off peak pattern is hourly. The hourly Liverpool to Norwich East Midlands Trains service and the hourly Transpennine Express service between Manchester Airport and Cleethorpes run over the Edgeley to Hazel Grove section but only a few of these trains call at Hazel Grove, most being nonstop between Stockport and Sheffield.
Buxton to Manchester services are operated by Class 150 and Class 156 diesel units. Piccadilly to Hazel Grove services used to utilise Class 323 electric multiple units, but very few services currently use these units at present on the line. For many years, services on the Buxton branch were in the hands of Class 104 diesel units based at Buxton depot.
Passenger information systems have been installed at Davenport, Hazel Grove and New Mills Newtown.
- Pixton, B., (2000) North Midland: Portrait of a Famous Route, Cheltenham: Runpast Publishing
- Bentley, C., (1997) British Railways Operating History: Volume one, The Peak District, Carnarvon: XPress Publishing.
Railway lines in the North West Primary LocalBlackpool Branch Lines · Borderlands Line · Buxton Line · Caldervale Line · Chester to Manchester Line · Crewe-Derby Line · Crewe-Manchester Line · Cumbrian Coast Line · East Lancashire Line · Ellesmere Port to Warrington Line · Furness Line · Glossop Line · Hope Valley Line · Huddersfield Line · Kirkby Branch Line · Leeds to Morecambe Line · Liverpool to Manchester Lines · Liverpool to Wigan Line · Manchester to Preston Line · Manchester to Southport Line · Mid-Cheshire Line · Morecambe Branch Line · Newcastle and Carlisle Railway · Northern Line (Merseyrail) · Ormskirk Branch Line · Ribble Valley Line · Settle-Carlisle Line · Stafford-Manchester Line · Stockport to Stalybridge Line · Styal Line · Windermere Branch Line · Wirral Line
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