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Glossop line
A Northern Rail Class 323 rounds a curve near Dinting in 2008
OwnerNetwork Rail
LocaleEast Midlands
North West England
TerminiManchester Piccadilly
Glossop railway station
TypeHeavy rail
SystemNational Rail
Operator(s)Northern Trains
Depot(s)Longsight Electric TMD
Rolling stock
Number of tracksDouble track
CharacterSuburban rail
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Electrification25 kV 50 Hz AC OHLE
Route map
Glossop line.png

(Click to expand)

The Manchester–Glossop line is a railway line connecting the city of Manchester with the towns of Hadfield and Glossop in Derbyshire, England. Passenger services on the line are operated by Northern Trains.

The line is the surviving section west of the Pennines of the Woodhead Line, which was electrified in the early 1950s but passenger services east of Hadfield were withdrawn in 1970, followed by complete closure in 1981. Hattersley was opened in 1978, around 750 m east of the then Godley station site, to serve the 1960s Hattersley estate. In 1985, the Flowery Field and new Godley stations were built; this new Godley site is around 500m west of the original Godley station, then renamed Godley East. These two stations, along with Ryder Brow on the Hope Valley line, were built to a minimum standard, using hollow wooden structures compared the more grandiose stonework of original stations, like Newton for Hyde or Glossop. Godley East was then closed in 1986, effectively being replaced by the newer Godley and Hattersley stations.

In December 1984, the Manchester–Glossop/Hadfield line electrification was converted from 1500 V DC to 25 kV AC. Class 303 EMUs took over from the veteran Class 506 units. The 303s later returned to the Glasgow area and were, in turn, replaced by Class 304 and Class 305 units before the then new Class 323 units were introduced to the line in November 1997. These units were due to transfer to the West Midlands in 2017 to be replaced by Class 319 units,[1] and as these trains are 20 metres longer, platform extensions at Godley and Flowery Field were carried out in the late 2010s. Network Rail plans by 2043 to further lengthen platforms to support 6 carriage Class 331/0 units.[2]

Other than Manchester Piccadilly, the busiest station on the line is Glossop, followed by Hadfield and Guide Bridge.[2]


Dinting Viaduct in 1994
Dinting Viaduct in 1994

The following table summarises the line's thirteen stations, their distance measured from Manchester Piccadilly and estimated number of passenger entries/exits in 2019/20:

Station Location Local authority Mileage Patronage
Manchester Piccadilly Manchester city centre City of Manchester 0 32.199 m
Ashburys Openshaw City of Manchester 1.61 0.129 m
Gorton Gorton City of Manchester 2.81 0.126 m
Fairfield Fairfield Tameside 3.72 43,316
Guide Bridge Audenshaw Tameside 5.02 0.386 m
Flowery Field Flowery Field Tameside 6.8 0.253 m
Newton for Hyde Newton Tameside 7.4 0.210 m
Godley Godley Tameside 8.1 0.107 m
Hattersley Hattersley Tameside 8.8 0.110 m
Broadbottom Broadbottom Tameside 9.8 0.202 m
Dinting Dinting High Peak 11.9 0.163 m
Hadfield Hadfield High Peak 12.6 0.397 m
Glossop Glossop High Peak 12.9 1.129 m

The same train serves Glossop and Hadfield via one of three routings:

Routing In use
Dinting–Hadfield–Glossop–Dinting Morning Peak services
Dinting–Glossop–Hadfield–Dinting Evening Peak services
Dinting–Glossop–Hadfield–Glossop–Dinting All other times

During the autumn "leaf fall" timetable, this pattern is modified so that the morning rush hour pattern is extended to about midday and the evening rush hour pattern starts as soon as the morning rush hour pattern finishes.

The line also includes a closed station at Godley East. This station was originally Godley Junction and was renamed Godley when the line to Stockport Tiviot Dale, via Woodley, was closed. The station became Godley East when the current Godley station was built slightly west in the 1980s.

There are also remnants of a platform and shelter near Gamesley, between Broadbottom and Dinting. Known as Mottram Staff Halt, it served the former Mottram Goods Yard.

Future proposals

Class 323 at Godley
Class 323 at Godley

Network Rail's Route 20 NW Urban Route Plan 2008 suggested the following improvements for 2009–2014 (Control Period 4) and 2014+ (Control Period 5). Potentially introduce a new Piccadilly – Stalybridge service, helping the Hadfield/Glossop service to achieve better utilisation and consequently avoid excessive platform lengthening.

Other potential changes include raising the linespeed around Dinting triangle from the present 10 mph-40 mph to 10 mph-50 mph, and the linespeed from Guide Bridge to Dinting from 60 mph to "up to 90 mph". Raising the linespeed will help the same number of units to work a 4tph (train per hour) service when they currently can only work 3 TPH, and incidentally avoids platform lengthening that would otherwise be necessary. New turnback facility would be provided (with associated OHLE works) in the Broadbottom/Gamesley area.

A new facility to stable 20 vehicles at Guide Bridge, will be required for new vehicles to arrive as part of the DfT Rolling Stock Plan.[3]


In the early 1980s, proposals were put forward to convert the Glossop line to light rail operation for the proposed Manchester Metrolink system. While construction of Metrolink went ahead, the Glossop line was not included in the system. In November 2013 the Greater Manchester Combined Authority approved a recommended strategy for reconfiguring existing commuter services into tram-train operation; identifying the Glossop line as potentially suitable for conversion within Phase 2 of the tram-train strategy.[4]

See also


Route map:

  1. ^ "Arriva's plans for rolling stock on Glossop Line as from April 2016". Friends Of Glossop Station. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Greater Manchester's South East Rail Corridor Study 2020" (PDF). Network Rail. Archived (PDF) from the original on 31 January 2021.
  3. ^ "Route 20: North West Urban" (PDF). Route Plans 2008. Network Rail. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 22 May 2009.