The Anonymous Widower

Beeching Reversal – Re-Doubling Of The Mid Cheshire Line Between Stockport and Altrincham And Associated Station Reopenings

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

Much of this project appears to be about bringing the former Stockport, Timperley and Altrincham Junction Railway, back up to somewhere near its original state.

This map clipped from Wikipedia shows the railway.


  1. Stockport Edgeley is now just Stockport station.
  2. Altrincham station is on the Mid-Cheshire Line.
  3. Baguley, Northenden and both Cheadle stations are now closed.

I have just flown my virtual helicopter between Stockport and Altrincham stations and much of the route is already double-track.

  • At Cheadle Village Junction, which appears to be behind Cheadle Heath Police Station, the track becomes single.
  • Just before Sharston Junction, which appears to be to the North-East of Sharston, the track becomes double again.

I estimate, that the single-track section is just over two miles long.

I was also able to ascertain, that there appeared to be plenty of space, where British Rail singled the track.

There is also a second section of single-track, through Navigation Road station, which is shown in this Google Map.


  1. Both tracks through Navigation Road station are bi-directional.
  2. The Metrolink track is on the West.
  3. The National Rail track is on the East.
  4. South of Navigation Road station, both Metrolink and National Rail get two tracks.

In the twenty-four hours to 0600 this morning, a total of seventeen freight movements, went through this section.

  • Some were biomass trains between Liverpool and Drax power station, up to 6400 tonnes.
  • Some were stone trains from the quarries in the Peak District.
  • Some were Network Rail engineering trains.

I suspect this abort section of single track for both Metrolink and Network Rail is an absolute pain.

The single track must cause a lot of problems as the route is sometimes used by two or three trains per hour (tph) in both directions.

As some of the trains are some of the UK’s longest freight trains, it could  also be very challenging for the signalling and the signallers.

Work That Could Be Done

These sub-projects could be performed.

Elimination of Single Track At Cheadle

I think this is essential and could greatly increase the capacity of the route.

This Youtube video from Don Coffey, shows the view from the cab, which travelling from Manchester to Chester. If you watch from about thirteen minutes, you’ll see the single-track section.

Sorting Out Navigation Road

As with the single-track section at Cheadle, I think this is essential and could greatly increase the capacity of the route.

Watch the same Youtube video from about twenty-two minutes, and you’ll see the single-track section, through Navigation Road station.

In Tram-Trains To Hale Station, I talked about the possibilities of using a variant of Class 399 tram-trains, similar to those running on the Sheffield Supertram.


It could be there are minor adjustments or major work to get the most out of a double-track railway.


This is an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry for the Mid-Cheshire Line.

In March 2015, the Electrification Task Force said that the Mid-Cheshire line was a tier 1 priority for being electrified in the CP6 period (2019-2024)

Would electrification be installed to perhaps run electric trains between Manchester Piccadilly and Chester?

Baguley Station

I covered Baguley station in Glazebrook Junction And Skelton Junction, where I said this.

Baguley station could be an interesting station, as it would be possible to create an interchange with the Manchester Metrolink. Wikipedia says this.

Proposals were made in the early 2000s to reopen a station in the Baguley area when the extension of the Metrolink out to Wythenshawe and Manchester Airport is actioned. In May 2011 re-opening of the station on the Stockport-Altrincham line was included in Transport for Greater Manchester’s Passenger Plan. The station would be on Southmoor Road and would be a tram/train interchange with the Baguley tram stop, which opened in 2014.

This Google Map shows the possible Baguley Interchange.


    1. The North-South road is Southmoor Road.
    2. The Metrolink branch to the Airport runs alongside.
    3. The Stockport and Altrincham Line crosses East-West towards the North of the map.

If you take a train between Manchester Piccadilly and Chester via Stockport, Navigation Road, Altrincham and Knutsford, you cross on the railway through here.

So perhaps a Baguley Interchange station, would help some people get to and from Manchester Airport?

Baguley station certainly has possibilities.

Cheadle North Station

Could Cheadle North station be replaced?

This article on the Manchester Evening News is entitled Cheadle ‘On Cusp’ Of Having Own Railway Station For First Time Since Mid-1960s, where this is said.

If ministers back the proposals, the railway station is likely to be built next to the Alexandra Hospital along the mid-Cheshire line – close to where the original Cheadle (later Cheadle North) station was.

This Google Map shows the Cheadle Alexandra Hospital and the Mid-Cheshire Line.


  1. The hospital is the largest private hospital in the UK, outside London.
  2. The railway, which is single-track at this point, runs along the South side of the site.

If the line is double-tracked, as seems likely, adding a small station would not be a challenging addition.

Northenden Station

Could Northenden station be replaced?

Future Train Services

The train service between Manchester Piccadilly and Chester is as follows.

  • The service is 45 miles.
  • It takes 90 minutes.
  • There are stops at Stockport, Navigation Road, Altrincham, Hale, Ashley, Mobberley, Knutsford, Plumley, Lostock Gtalam, Northwich, Greenbank, Cuddington, Delamere and Mouldsworth.

It could be argued that two tph between Manchester Piccadilly and Chester are needed now and that four tph should be the preferred frequency.

There are other services.



After restoring the double-track on this route, there are possibilities to spend, as much money as you want.

In Tram-Trains To Hale Station, these were my conclusions.

  • Tram-trains can deliver a capacity improvement through Navigation Road station.
  • Tram-trains could be extensively tested on the existing Manchester Metrolink network.
  • Tram-trains could be used to build a simple extension to Hale station from Altrincham.
  • The Manchester and Chester service via Stockport, Navigation Road and Altrincham stations could be run by tram-trains.

A comprehensive network of tram-trains could be developed between, through and beyond Altrincham, Crewe and Chester.

Cheshire would have a quality commuter and local train network into Manchester.

After all in the next couple of years, Merseyrail’s Cheshire network will be getting a major upgrade with new trains and perhaps another new route.

August 3, 2020 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , ,


  1. […] / Bolton-Bury Reinstating Beeston Castle and Tarporley Railway Station Reopen Midge Hall Station Re-Doubling Of The Mid Cheshire Line Between Stockport And Altrincham And Associated Station Reopeni… Stockport and Ashton Line Glazebrook Junction And Skelton Junction East Didsbury – […]

    Pingback by Beeching Reversal: Fifty Disused Rail Lines On Track To Reopen « The Anonymous Widower | August 3, 2020 | Reply

  2. Alas my own helicopter is in for a virtual service so I had to resort to the excellent and informative Don Coffey railway video

    (if not enough time for entire journey departure from Stockport is 13min 20 sec)

    Comment by Fenline Scouser | August 3, 2020 | Reply

  3. Thanks for that!

    Comment by AnonW | August 3, 2020 | Reply

  4. Some of the freight trains only run in one direction – something to do with needing double headers if they went eastbound through Victoria.

    There are also “bin liner” trains, some just pass through, but others have to do double reversals to get into Biffa’s depot at Sharston (Northenden).

    Comment by R. Mark Clayton | August 4, 2020 | Reply

  5. When I saw that depot, I didn’t think, it would be a place you’d build it now!


    I can see the Manchester area getting an Altalto waste-to-fuel plant, as at Immingham and as I wrote about in Oregon today.

    In the early 1970s, at ICI, I did a mathematical model for a catalyst expert. His views were very optimistic about catalysts, which he felt were an area, where there were good advances to be made.

    It appears Velocys and their subsidiary;Altalto are proving him right.

    Comment by AnonW | August 4, 2020 | Reply

  6. […] Re-Doubling Of The Mid Cheshire Line Between Stockport and Altrincham And Associated Station Reopeni… is another of the Beeching Reversal projects and envisages the following. […]

    Pingback by Beeching Reversal – East Didsbury – Stockport « The Anonymous Widower | August 5, 2020 | Reply

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