Hope Valley line
The line at Bamford in the Hope Valley
OwnerNetwork Rail
TypeHeavy rail
SystemNational Rail
Rolling stock
  • 6 November 1893 (goods)
  • 1 June 1894 (passengers)
Number of tracksDouble-track (except at Dore station)
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Electrification25 kV AC OHLE (Western part), from Manchester Piccadilly to Hazel Grove, Ashburys and Guide Bridge
Operating speed90 mph (140 km/h)

125 mph (201 km/h) (Manchester Piccadilly to Stockport)

40 mph (64 km/h) (Hazel Grove to Edgeley Junction)
Route map

(Click to expand)

The Hope Valley line is a trans-Pennine railway line in Northern England, linking Manchester with Sheffield. It was completed in 1894.

Passenger services on the line are operated by Northern Trains, East Midlands Railway and TransPennine Express, while the quarries around Hope, producing stone and cement, provide a source of freight traffic.

From Sheffield, the line follows the Midland Main Line through the south-west of the city to Dore & Totley, where the Hope Valley line branches off to run through the Totley Tunnel, the fourth-longest tunnel in England. It emerges in the Hope Valley area of Derbyshire, where it passes through the stations of Grindleford, Hathersage, Bamford, Hope and Edale before entering the two-mile-long Cowburn Tunnel. From the western portal of the tunnel, the line runs through Chinley, then splits. The northern branch runs via New Mills Central towards Manchester Piccadilly. The southern branch passes through the Disley Tunnel before merging with the Buxton line and then heading to Stockport to join the West Coast Main Line to Manchester.


Sheffield and Midland Joint Section

This section was built by the Sheffield and Midland Railway Companies' Committee as part of the Midland Railway's drive to reach Manchester with its line from London via Ambergate and Millers Dale. Initially, in 1867, it joined the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway at Hyde Junction, running into Manchester London Road, but in 1875 a more direct route was built through Bredbury. When Manchester Central was opened by the Cheshire Lines Committee, a new line was built through Heaton Mersey. This third route was closed along with Manchester Central, apart from the section through Disley Tunnel to Hazel Grove, where it now joins the old LNWR line into Stockport.

Dore and Chinley

In 1872, the Midland Railway's only route from Sheffield to Manchester was via Ambergate. It had originally proposed a line to run from Dore to Hassop, meeting its extension from Rowsley to Buxton. However, the "Dore and Chinley Railway" was floated independently in 1872 and, unsuccessfully, until the Midland took an interest, since it would provide a more direct route, connecting through Chinley into Manchester.[1] The line was authorised in 1884 and work began in 1888.[2]

The 21-mile (34 km) line took five years to build, opening to goods traffic in November 1893, with passenger traffic being carried from June 1894.[3] The terrain through Hope Valley and the Vale of Edale was easy enough by Midland standards, but at each end there were formidable obstacles, negotiated by means of the Totley and Cowburn Tunnels.

20th century

At the time of the Beeching review, the line was running in competition with the recently modernised and faster Woodhead Line and its closure was suggested.[4] On appeal, British Rail was required to keep the Hope Valley line open to passenger traffic; it was decided that the Woodhead route would be closed to passenger traffic instead[5] and then subsequently to all traffic in 1981, due to the high cost of further upgrading the line to modern standards.[citation needed]

Metrolink proposals

In the early 1980s, proposals were put forward to convert the Piccadilly–Belle Vue–Rose Hill/Marple section of the Hope Valley line to light rail operation for the proposed Manchester Metrolink system. While construction of Metrolink went ahead, the Hope Valley line was not included in the system which was completed in 1992.[6] When in 2000, proposals for a large-scale extension of Metrolink were announced by the government, these still did not include conversion of the Hope Valley line; but, subsequently, planning documents from Network Rail and from the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority have suggested that this route might be appropriate for tram-train operation, and, as such, it was suggested to the Department for Transport as a possible location for a national tram-train pilot.[7]

2019 closure

On 1 August 2019, the line was closed between Marple and Sheffield amid fears that the dam at Toddbrook Reservoir would collapse, following heavy rain, which would flood the town of Whaley Bridge. The Buxton line, between Hazel Grove and Buxton, was also closed because of this. The line was re-opened on 7 August 2019.[8]


The following passenger services traverse all or part of the Hope Valley Line:

Northern Trains:

Route tph Calling at Stock
Manchester Piccadilly to Sheffield 1 Reddish North, Brinnington, Bredbury, Romiley, Marple, New Mills Central, Chinley, Edale, Hope, Bamford, Hathersage, Grindleford and Dore & Totley
*Some services do not call at some or all of Edale, Bamford, Hathersage, Grindleford and Dore & Totley giving some 2-hour gaps between services at these stations.
Manchester Piccadilly to Rose Hill Marple 43 Gorton, Fairfield (1tph), Guide Bridge, Hyde North (1tph), Hyde Central, Woodley and Romiley
Manchester Piccadilly to New Mills Central 12 Ashburys, Belle Vue (irregular), Ryder Brow, Reddish North, Brinnington, Bredbury, Romiley, Marple and Strines (1tp2h)

East Midlands Railway:

Route tph Calling at Stock
Liverpool Lime StreetNorwich 1

TransPennine Express:

Route tph Calling at Stock
Liverpool Lime Street to Cleethorpes 1 185


A First TransPennine Express Class 185 near Edale in 2010

In 2005 planning applications for various parts of a capacity and Modernisation scheme were submitted.[9] In 2015, a consultation pack on the capacity enhancement of the line was released by Network Rail.[10]

Nottinghamshire County Council and the Department for Transport have investigated the possibility of adding another service that does not call at Sheffield in order to improve the journey time between Nottingham and Manchester. Stopping (and changing direction) in Sheffield, the fastest journey is 110 minutes (in 2019), but the council has estimated bypassing Sheffield would cut the time to 85 minutes. Suggested improvements on a 2+12-mile (4 km) stretch near Stockport may reduce journey times by 2–3 minutes.[11][12]

Network Rail, in partnership with South Yorkshire ITA, will redouble the track between Dore Station Junction and Dore West Junction, at an estimated cost of £15 million. This costing is based on four additional vehicles in traffic to deliver the option, however, this will depend on vehicle allocation through the DfT rolling stock plan. This work will be programmed, subject to funding, in conjunction with signalling renewals in the Dore/Totley Tunnel area.

In 2018, proposals were published for works in order to fit in an all-day (07:00–19:00) hourly Manchester–Sheffield via New Mills Central stopping service, by extending an existing Manchester–New Mills Central service.[13] Planning permission for the upgrade was granted in February 2018, but delays mean that this will now not be completed until 2023.[14] The TWAO was also published in 2018.[15] These changes to allow three fast trains, a stopping train and freight trains each hour were also supported in a Transport for the North investment report in 2019, together with “further interventions” for the Northern Powerhouse Rail programme.[16]

In March 2021, it was announced by Minister of State for Transport, Andrew Stephenson, that £137 million would be used to upgrade the line.[17] The local MP Robert Largan claimed he had campaigned hard for this upgrade.[18] A joint venture between Volker Rail and Story Contracting was awarded an £80 million contract for the delayed Hope Valley upgrade.[19] The work includes creating a 3,600 feet (1,100 m) passing loop between Bamford and Hathersage, and adding a second track and platform at Dore and Totley station.[20] This will allow passenger trains to pass slower-moving freight and allow three fast trains per hour between Manchester and Sheffield.[21] There will also be improvements to the Jaggers Lane Bridge in Hathersage. Work started on 29 May 2022[22] and is expected to be complete by spring 2024.[23]


Earle's Sidings at Hope
Earle's Sidings at Hope

Around 66% of the works output (1,000,000 tonnes (1,100,000 tons) per year) of cement from Hope Cement Works a year is taken away by rail from the seven-road Earle's Sidings at Hope.[24][25] When G & T Earle opened Earle's Cement works in 1929, it was linked to the Hope Valley Line by a 1 mi 52 chains (2.7 km) single track railway, which was worked by steam until 1963.[26][27] Most of the cement now travels over it in trains hauled by Class 20 locomotives[28] to Earle's Sidings,[25] where it is taken over by Freightliner.[29]

See also


  1. ^ Joy 1984, p. 171.
  2. ^ Joy 1984, p. 267.
  3. ^ Body, Geoffrey (1986). Railways of the Eastern Region. Vol. 1, Southern operating area. London: Guild Publishing. p. 142. ISBN 0850597129.
  4. ^ "Passenger Services (Proposed Closures) (Hansard, 27 July 1965)".
  5. ^ Blackledge, Richard (22 April 2020). "Take an 'armchair journey' through the Peak District by rail with book's fascinating pictures – Beauty and strategic importance – these are the watchwords of the Hope Valley railway line between Sheffield and Manchester". infoweb.newsbank.com. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  6. ^ "Tram Trains Mooted for Glossop Line by TfGM for 2020+ Onwards". Friends Of Glossop Station. Retrieved 9 June 2022.
  7. ^ "National Rail Enquiries – Service Alteration Details". www.nationalrail.co.uk. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  8. ^ "05/02599/PNR | Provision of a new platform and footbridge (Application for determination if approval required for design and siting) | Dore & Totley Station Abbeydale Road South Dore Sheffield S17 3LB". planningapps.sheffield.gov.uk. Retrieved 10 June 2022.
  9. ^ "Hope Valley Capacity Scheme consultation pack" (PDF). Network Rail. January 2015.
  10. ^ "125mph trains to cut journey times". infoweb.newsbank.com. 12 April 2008. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  11. ^ "Nottinghamshire Local Transport Plan 2011–2026" (PDF). Nottinghamshire County Council. p. 78. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  12. ^ "Yorkshire & Humber RUS Appendix 4 – Options Appraisal" (PDF). Network Rail.
  13. ^ Jeeves, Paul (3 October 2019). "Fury as vital rail link is delayed by 4 more years". infoweb.newsbank.com. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  14. ^ "Hope Valley capacity: Transport and Works Act order". GOV.UK. Retrieved 10 June 2022.
  15. ^ "Strategic Transport Plan" (PDF). Transport for the North.
  16. ^ "Mayor welcomes Sheffield to Manchester rail upgrade". BBC News. 11 March 2021. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  17. ^ "Robert Largan MP welcomes the return of Hope Valley Explorer bus to Peak District". Robert Largan MP. Retrieved 9 June 2022.
  18. ^ "Hope Valley Monthly Newsletter – May 2022". email.unionroom.co.uk. Retrieved 9 June 2022.
  19. ^ Mitchinson, James, ed. (12 March 2021). "£137m upgrade for Hope Valley Line gets approval". The Yorkshire Post. p. 1. ISSN 0963-1496.
  20. ^ "Dore and Totley Station to close on Sundays over next few weeks for rail improvement work". www.thestar.co.uk. Retrieved 9 June 2022.
  21. ^ "Hope Valley upgrade under way". Modern Railways. Key Publishing Ltd.: 29 July 2022. ISSN 0026-8356.
  22. ^ "Hope Valley upgrade delayed", Modern Railways, Key Publishing, 80 (893): 20, February 2023
  23. ^ Falconer, Words and Photos: Robert. "90 years of the Hope Valley Cement Works". derbyshirelife.co.uk. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  24. ^ a b "Hope Cement Works Railway". sinfin.net. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  25. ^ "1704 Nunlow -1938 steam loco preserved at Ingrow Loco Museum & Workshop". ingrowlocomuseum.com. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  26. ^ Kelman, Leanne (2018). Railway Track Diagrams; Midland (4 ed.). Beckington, Frome: Trackmaps. 44C. ISBN 978-1-9996271-1-9.
  27. ^ Bendall, Ian (September 2017). "Industrial Railway Society Bulletin No.1000" (PDF). The Industrial Railway Society. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 August 2021. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  28. ^ "Earles Sidings Train Crew Depot - Freightliner". Freightliner. Retrieved 3 April 2016.


KML is from Wikidata