Stockport, Timperley and Altrincham Junction Railway
Stockport, Timperley &
Altrincham Junction Railway
The Stockport, Timperley and Altrincham Junction Railway was authorised by an Act passed 22 July 1861 to build a railway from Stockport on the Stockport and Woodley Junction Railway (ST&AJ) to Broadheath on the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) owned Warrington & Stockport Railway and to Timperley on the Manchester, South Junction and Altrincham Railway (MSJAR). The line would be 8 miles 17 chains (13.2 km) in length.
The Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR) and the Great Northern Railway (GNR) subscribed equally to finance the building of the railway. Together the MS&LR and GNR formed a joint committee to operate the railway along with three others. This eventually led to the formation of the Cheshire Lines Committee in 1865.
Opening and operationsEdit
The ST&AJR opened from Portwood, east of Stockport, to Deansgate Junction, on the MSJAR, on 1 December 1865 with the section from Skelton Junction to Broadheath Junction, on the LNWR Warrington and Stockport Railway, opening on 1 February 1866.
A new station Stockport Tiviot Dale was opened. This station remained in use until closure on 2 January 1967. Other stations opened in early 1866 were at Cheadle, Northenden and Baguley - these were all closed on 30 November 1964, when the Stockport Tiviot Dale to Warrington Central service ceased.
The ST&AJR served as a very useful avoiding line to the south of Manchester and carried a very heavy freight traffic which funnelled in from several routes from the East Midlands and Yorkshire to south Lancashire and Cheshire. This required hard working of the steam locomotives by their crews to clear the bottleneck stretch of line for the following trains.
Though passenger services had all ceased by the late 1960s, the line remained in regular use for goods traffic throughout the following decade, mainly carrying coal traffic from South Yorkshire to Fiddlers Ferry power station and limestone aggregates from the Peak District to the Brunner Mond works near Northwich. In 1980 though, the eastern section of the line from Portwood to Cheadle was temporarily closed to traffic for safety reasons after the Lancashire Hill tunnel near Tiviot Dale sustained roof damage during construction work on the nearby M63 motorway and the traffic using it diverted away.
The closure of the Woodhead Line the following summer removed the main reason for the line's continuing existence and so in 1982 it was formally abandoned and subsequently lifted. The Skelton Junction to Warrington Arpley line which it fed into at its western end also suffered the same fate in July 1985, with infrastructure issues again the reason behind the closure (the deteriorating condition of the Manchester Ship Canal viaduct at Latchford being the cause this time). This left only the sections from Edgeley Junction to Deansgate Junction and Cheadle Heath to Northenden (which connected to the surviving portion of the 1902 Midland line from New Mills to Heaton Mersey) in use.
Passenger trains were re-introduced when Manchester's tram network, Metrolink, took over the direct Manchester to Altrincham line (ex-MSJAR) in 1992. Trains from Manchester to points beyond Altrincham now travel via Stockport over this line which today forms part of the Mid-Cheshire Line. The intermediate stations have not been re-opened, though there have been proposals put forward to reopen Baguley station to act as an interchange with the nearby Baguley Metrolink station on the recently Metrolink line from St Werburgh's Road to Manchester Airport.
- Griffiths, R.P., The Cheshire Lines Railway, The Oakwood Press, 1947.