Branch Line Britain - celebrating Britain's minor railways

Midland - Hadfield review 1

Glossop railway station facing north

12/2/08 - Manchester Piccadilly to Hadfield

Train Operating Company: Northern

Traction used: Class 323 3/4 car EMU

Weather: Sunny and mild

The train leaves Manchester Piccadilly from platform 1 at 08.27 as two trains are just arriving. We pass two more units as we travel across a long viaduct with offices and warehouses on each side. The line to Stockport leaves us on the right as we pass Ardwick station. We then see Manchester City's football ground on the left in the distance and the Trans Pennine depot. We pull into Ashburys station, which has an old station building on the left hand platform. We pass lots of blocks of flats on both sides and then the line to Sheffield leaves us on the right. There are G-rail sidings on the left just before we arrive at Gorton. Shortly afterwards we go straight through Fairfield  station and then go under the M60 in a cutting. The single line from Stockport joins us on the right, as we come into Guide Bridge. It has a bus stop shelter on both platforms and has been neglected with half of the platform being left to vegetation. The original red brick building is still standing on the left platform but is cut off from the platform by a fence. The line to Stalybridge goes off on the left with large sidings. On the right there are the remains of a once important siding for the Woodhead route. We pass more industrial units before going into a cutting and then there are four tracks as two leave us at Hyde North station on the right, though I can't see any station signs! Only an announcement on the train gives out that the line is going to Romiley. We slow as we come into Flowery Field station - a nice name for a station, which was only opened in 1985 to replace Hyde station, which was transferred to the Romiley line.  There are the usual bus stops on either platform. We pass lots of allotments on the right and then terraced housing. Next comes Newton station, though there is no indication of where we are. We start seeing the beginnings of the Pennine Hills on the left as we go into a cutting and then slow for Godley station. All the stations along here seem identical, though there is a disused station that we pass. We now start to climb upwards as we reach the western edge of the Pennines. Another old line joins us on the right, before we come into Hattersley station, which is different to the previous stations, as it has an island platform. It is very frosty here and there is an indication of four tracks here. We enter another cutting, pass a small wood on the right and then go into another cutting. We then come into another station with an unusual name - "Broadbottom". It is a nice station, with its original yellow brick station building, which houses a pub called "The Station". It has a large wooden canopy shelter on the right plus the original footbridge, painted in cream and green. The scenery to the right is glorious with a large hill in the distance with an old factory well below us on the A626. We are quite high up now and there is woodland on both sides now as we come to a stop for a red light. We are waiting for another unit coming the other way over the single track Dinting Vale viaduct. You can see the rush hour traffic in queues below us and Mottram-in-Longendale on the left, where Lowry was born. We enter Dinting station, which is the junction triangle for the Glossop and Hadfield branches. There used to be Dinting Railway Centre here, but it has long gone. The station has its red brick original buildings on the right as well as a signal box. The old station building on the left is now a private house. The other line from Glossop now joins us on the right as we go into a cutting, before emerging on an embankment with views of Hadfield below us on the left.  The housing here is all yellow stone, as is Hadfield station which we come into. It has just the single platform with buffers at the eastern end, where the Woodhead route used to go over the Pennines to Sheffield. It is now the Longendale Nature Trial. Certain trains then leave the station and go onto Glossop, turning left at Dinting. Glossop station is also single platform station, though there are the remains of a second track, but no second platform. There is a lovely lion statue perched high on the roof of the station, which is right in the middle of the town centre, next to the main A57 road over the Pennines via the Snake Pass. 

Summary: A busy commuter route into Manchester, which will always be well used. Maybe one day, the route east of Hadfield, could be reopened, at least as far as Penistone, if not to Sheffield. It would certainly help free up the other trans-Pennine routes between Manchester and Yorkshire.   MC