Styal Line

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Styal Line
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale Greater Manchester
North West England
Opened 1909
Owner Network Rail
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Styal Line
Manchester Piccadilly Manchester Metrolink
Hope Valley Line
Crewe to Manchester Line,
Buxton Line and
Stafford to Manchester Line
Mauldeth Road
East Didsbury Manchester Metrolink
Heald Green
Spur to Manchester Airport
Manchester Airport Manchester Metrolink
Crewe to Manchester Line
Crewe to Manchester Line

The Styal Line is a railway line in south Manchester and north-east Cheshire. It runs from Slade Lane Junction, some 2 km south of Manchester Piccadilly, to Wilmslow. There also is a spur to Manchester Airport which was opened in 1993. The branch to the airport leaves the Styal Line via a triangular junction between Heald Green and Styal.

The line is an early commuter line running through many suburban stations in south Manchester however in recent years, usage of the line has surged with growing commuter patronage and non-stopping services which use the line between Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport.

It was electrified in 1959 as part of the West Coast Main Line electrification scheme. Despite this, the majority of trains using the line were diesel powered until 2014. The introduction of Class 350s TransPennine Express on the Edinburgh-Manchester Airport line in December 2013 and cascade of Class 319s to Northern Rail in early 2015 has curtailed the use of diesel trains on the line allowing for a 100mph service compared with 75mph limit for many diesel trains.


In early twentieth century the line between Manchester Piccadilly and Stockport became unable to cope with the increasing traffic. To solve the problem, a new route avoiding Stockport was constructed by the London and North Western Railway. It ran from Slade Lane Junction (located in Longsight, Manchester) to Wilmslow through what was then mainly a rural area. The primary purpose was to provide a bypass for express trains, but a few wooden stations were built on the line to encourage suburban development. In practice, very few expresses latterly used the line, as it was necessary for most trains to serve the important station at Stockport.
The line opened in 1909, and from 1923 was operated by the London Midland and Scottish Railway. The Manchester Airport spur was added in 1993, initially towards Heald Green only (the link towards Styal was added a few years later).

Nowadays the majority of services operate via the airport, however there are a couple of services each day (mainly long distance trains) which take the direct route from Styal to Heald Green, that is to say from Heald Green South Junction to Heald Green North Junction, for traincrew route knowledge retention purposes. This route can also be used for diversions if the Stockport route is closed for engineering work.


Services are currently operated by:

External links