Crewe–Derby line

  (Redirected from Crewe to Derby Line)

The Crewe–Derby line is a railway line in central England, running from Crewe south east to Derby via Stoke-on-Trent and Uttoxeter. Passenger services on the line are provided by East Midlands Railway.

Crewe–Derby line
East Midlands Trains Class 158, 158774, Kidsgrove railway station (geograph 4525106).jpg
East Midlands Trains Class 158 entering Kidsgrove station in 2015
OwnerNetwork Rail
LocaleEast Midlands
North West England
West Midlands
TypeHeavy Rail
SystemNational Rail
Operator(s)East Midlands Railway
West Midlands Trains
Rolling stockClass 153 "Super Sprinter"
Class 156 "Super Sprinter"
Class 158 "Express Sprinter"
Class 170 Turbostar
Number of tracksTwo, One
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Electrification25 kV 50 Hz AC OHLE
(Stoke-on-Trent to Crewe)
Operating speed70 mph (110 km/h)
Route map
Crewe–Derby line.png
(Click to expand)


This line was opened by the North Staffordshire Railway Company and became part of the London Midland and Scottish Railway in 1923.

The line was opened between Stoke and Uttoxeter on 7 August 1848. The next stage from here to Tutbury was opened 11 September 1848. Just beyond Tutbury was formerly a branch line to Burton upon Trent, having opened on the same date, but now closed.

A separate company, the Cheadle Railway Company, built a line from Cresswell to Cheadle, which was opened throughout on 1 January 1901 and was closed to passengers in 1953 and to freight traffic in 1978.

The section of line between Egginton and the Midland Railway Derby to Birmingham line was opened on 13 July 1849. The section between Stoke and Kidsgrove is part of the West Coast Main Line, which together with the section from Kidsgrove to Crewe opened on 9 October 1848.

When Central Trains were awarded the franchise for the line in the 1990s, the Crewe-Derby service (which under BR Regional Railways had run between Crewe, Derby and Nottingham then either Lincoln or Skegness) was expanded to run between Manchester Airport and Skegness. However, poor punctuality meant that this was later curtailed to Crewe-Skegness. In Autumn 2005, further poor performance saw the through service limited to Crewe-Derby.

During 2003 much of the line was closed as part of the West Coast Main Line upgrade with trains terminating at Blythe Bridge and a shuttle bus service running between there and Crewe. After the closure all stations on the route reopened except Etruria which was closed in 2005.[1] As a result of the upgrade the section from Crewe to Kidsgrove was electrified for use as a diversionary route for the West Coast Main Line.

In May 2021, services provided by East Midlands Railway were extended to provide Crewe and Stoke-on-Trent with direct links past Derby to Nottingham and Newark Castle, although the service is still run hourly and journeys between Stoke-on-Trent and Nottingham take approximately 90 minutes.


All stations on the route except Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe are managed by East Midlands Railway.

The line serves or has formerly served the following places (highlighted place names currently have a station whereas the others formerly had a named station that is now closed):

Crewe; Radway Green and Barthomley; Alsager; Kidsgrove; Chatterley; Longport; Etruria; Stoke-on-Trent; Fenton; Longton; Normacot; Meir; Blythe Bridge; Cresswell; Leigh; Bramshall; Uttoxeter; Marchington; Sudbury; Scropton; Tutbury and Hatton; Egginton; Pear Tree and Normanton; and Derby.


The route starts at Derby and follows the Cross Country Route as far as North Staffordshire Junction in Willington, then carrying along the main body of the line until Stoke Junction on the Stoke-on-Trent branch of the West Coast Main Line until Kidsgrove, where it then follows the Alsager branch as far as Crewe south junction before terminating at Crewe.

The route is double track for all of its length except for a three-mile section between Alsager and Crewe, which was singled by British Rail. Whilst the majority of the route is not electrified, the section between Stoke Junction and Crewe is as part of the West Coast Main Line.

In April 2006, Network Rail organised its maintenance and train control operations into "26 Routes". The line from Crewe to Kidsgrove (where it joins the line from Manchester) through to Stoke-on-Trent forms part of Route 18 (the West Coast Main Line). The line through to Derby from the junction just south of Stoke-on-Trent station forms part of Route 19 (the Midland Main Line and East Midlands).


The line sees a basic hourly service in each direction from Crewe to Newark Castle via Stoke-on-Trent, Uttoxeter, Derby, Long Eaton and Nottingham, with trains calling at all stations on the route except for Peartree which is served by two Newark bound trains and three Crewe bound trains per weekday.

The majority of services on the route from December 2008 to February 2020 were provided by single car Class 153 "Super Sprinter" Diesel Multiple Units, however Class 158 "Express Sprinter" and Class 156 "Super Sprinter" units were occasionally used.

From February 2020, the new East Midlands Railway franchise started running Class 153 DMUs in double formation, and occasionally, Class 156 DMUs, however, overcrowding remained a major issue on the route, particularly in the morning and evening peak, and on weekends. Passengers are occasionally left behind.[2]

A Class 170 DMU arriving at Tutbury and Hatton in 2005, bound for Skegness.

With the reintroduction of Class 170 "Turbostar" services on this route, which started in late November 2020, capacity limitations are expected to be eased, with Class 153 and Class 156 DMUs expected to be retired from the route in 2021.


Under the new East Midlands Railway franchise, most trains have increased in capacity, with Class 153 DMUs now mostly running in double formation and occasionally being joined by Class 156 DMUs. In the future, there are plans to extend the route to Nottingham.[3] Local MP Jack Brereton has also called for Meir railway station to be re-opened.[4]


  1. ^ "Last train departs from station". BBC News. 30 September 2005. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Race-goers fight for space on train". This is Staffordshire. 4 May 2009. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  3. ^ "TONY CAVE: New franchise will deliver many improvements to local rail network". 2 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Campaign to reopen this Stoke-on-Trent railway station - 53 years after it shut!". 8 July 2019.