The Anonymous Widower

Adding Buxton And Manchester Piccadilly To The Bee Network

This article on the Railway Gazette has a list of the lines, that will be transferred between Northern Rail and the Bee Network.

Included in the list is this line.

Buxton And Manchester Piccadilly

I think this route would be the following.

  • The Southern terminus would be Buxton.
  • The Northern terminus would be Manchester Piccadilly.
  • Intermediate stations would be Dove Holes, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Whaley Bridge, Furness Vale, New Mills Newtown, Disley, Middlewood, Hazel Grove, Woodsmoor, Davenport, Stockport, Heaton Chapel and Levenshulme.
  • he route is fully electrified with 25 KVAC overhead between Hazel Grove and Manchester Piccadilly.
  • Most of the route has a range of operating speeds. up to 90 mph.
  • The distance is 19 miles
  • Trains take 62 minutes
  • Trains are often two-car Class 150 trains working as a pair.
  • The Buxton Line is one of the stiffest routes on the UK rail network.

The route is the same as the current Northern Trains service.

This is my thought.


I think there are three choices.

  • Electrify the line fully and use 100 mph electric trains like Class 331 trains.
  • Use 100 mph battery-electric trains, with large enough batteries to climb to Buxton.
  • Use 100 mph hydrogen-electric trains, with enough power on hydrogen to climb to Buxton.


  1. The current diesel trains could be used until a zero-carbon solution is delivered.
  2. 100 mph trains would be needed because of the 90 mph section around Stockport.
  3. The stiffness of the line makes the choice difficult.
  4. Regenerative braking would allow trains to coast down the hill.
  5. Battery-electric trains would not need charging at Buxton.

I’m sure that the deal that will be setting up the Bee Network, would have a plan for the Buxton Line.

March 31, 2023 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , ,


  1. […] Buxton – Manchester Piccadilly […]

    Pingback by Manchester Buzzing To Put Rail Into Its Bee Network « The Anonymous Widower | March 31, 2023 | Reply

  2. Looks like a no brainer to me, use the IPEMU version of the Class 777. Max gradient is 1 in 60 between Stockport and Buxton, no part of the line has an operating speed of more than 70 mph, and the unelectrified section of the line between Hazel Grove and Buxton is less than 17 miles or about 50% of the battery range claimed by Stadler.

    Comment by fammorris | March 31, 2023 | Reply

    • I am not so sure it would manage the climb. Porterbrook kindly sent me their brochure for the 769 and it states that battery trains would be very difficult.

      But Stadler are the experts and I wonder, if they are proposing an ingenious solution. The track to Buxton could be electrified to power the trains up the hill.

      Comment by AnonW | March 31, 2023 | Reply

      • As an addendum to my earlier post today, just watched a German language video that included a piece about the Siemens Mirror B plus and the Westerwald routes. It mentioned inclines of up to 25 Kms in length and maximum gradients of 3%. By comparison the maximum gradients on the Buxton route are 1.67%.

        Comment by fammorris | April 1, 2023

  3. Well at least we shall see whether it is practical or not since Hessische Landesbahn are going to buy three two-car Siemens Mireo Plus B battery trains for their Upper and Lower Westerwald routes where there are some difficult, longer uphill stretches in the low mountains. Certainly adding a fast charge facility at Buxton should address any doubts.

    Comment by fammorris | April 1, 2023 | Reply

    • I’m fairly certain, that you wouldn’t need a charger at Buxton, as Newton’s friend would get it started downhill.

      Comment by AnonW | April 1, 2023 | Reply

      • Not that I’m claiming a fast charger is a necessity but the summit on the route to Buxton occurs about 2.5 miles before reaching the the town, so the line is uphill for most of the was back to Dove Hole.

        Comment by fammorris | April 1, 2023

  4. Same problem as adding Alderley Edge, the Bee Network is a political project of Greater Manchester’s ambitious Labour Mayor – Andy Burnham. Buxton is well outside Greater Manchester, this time in Derbyshire and Burnhams powers do not extend outside of Greater Manchester.

    Comment by R. Mark Clayton | April 1, 2023 | Reply

  5. But then Merseyrail run to Southport and Chester and want to run to Preston, Wrexham and even Crewe.

    Comment by AnonW | April 1, 2023 | Reply

    • And the Elizabeth Line runs to Reading well outside of the TfL area, while you can get to other areas like Watford Junction, which like Reading are subject to National Rail’s acceptance of Oyster Cards. Manchester’s control, like London and Liverpool only gives absolute control of transport integration and ticketing within those transport authorities. Anything outside is subject to negotiation.

      Comment by fammorris | April 1, 2023 | Reply

  6. […] Adding Buxton And Manchester Piccadilly To The Bee Network […]

    Pingback by Chiltern Electrification Alternatives Studied « The Anonymous Widower | May 17, 2023 | Reply

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