Denton Railway Station

Denton Railway Station, Manchester Road North, Denton
Historically, Denton Railway Station was situated on the Stockport and Guide Bridge line of the London & North Western Railway, 6 miles south east of Manchester and 4½ miles north east of Stockport. This was once a busy line where coal from Denton Colliery on Stockport Lane was transhipped onto the rail network at Denton Colliery Sidings in North Reddish situated to the south west of Dane Bank. Adjoining the station, on the opposite side of Manchester Road, there were sidings in a large goods yard, containing a goods shed, that was used by Lancashire Felt Works and next to this there was another siding for Denton Gas Works owned by Denton Urban District Council. Just outside the station stood the Queen's Hotel where passengers could quench their thirst. When it opened in 1871 it had stables but it was unsuccessful as a railway hotel. It was demolished in 1983 to make way for the M67 motorway.

The line eventually had four tracks and there were two island platforms at the station, with two tracks laid between the islands and one on either side. There was a ticket office that was accessed from the north side of Manchester Road and two flights of stairs down to the platforms. Subsequently, the eastern platform was abandoned but the tracks around it were left in place to be lifted at a later date. The ticket office was demolished and access to the remaining western platform is presently by a single flight of steel stairs from Manchester Road North. The station now lies adjacent to a large roundabout where the A57 trunk road and the M60 and M67 motorways intersect.

Denton Station, 1950.

Denton Station on the occasion of the annual works outing of J Moores & Sons, Hat Manufacturers.

Denton Station, 1951.

Denton Station on the occasion of the annual works outing of Oldham Battery Company to Blackpool.

The locomotive is possibly a Class 5 4-6-0 introduced by the London Midland and Scottish Railway Company in 1934.

Goods Train, 1924.

A goods train, loaded with lead destined for Oldham Battery Company, stands alongside Lancashire Felt Works adjoining Denton Goods Yard.

Denton Station is widely known because it is one of the hosts of Britain's least frequent train service, which is once a week on Friday mornings. Presently, the departure times are 10:13 from Stockport (Edgeley) Platform 3a, 10:20 from Reddish South, 10:24 from Denton and 10:30 from Guide Bridge to arrive at Stalybridge at 10:36. It travels via Heaton Norris but does not stop there. It is a request stop train operated by Northern Rail and there is no return service from Stalybridge to Stockport, so passengers wishing to avail themselves of this once weekly train are obliged to make the return journey by alternative means. The record-holding infrequency of the service now attracts railway enthusiasts who wish to ride on the 'Denton Flyer' or 'ghost train' as it is also known.

In law, the once weekly train service that stops at Reddish South, Denton and Guide Bridge Stations is a Parliamentary Train operating a Parliamentary Service. That is to say, a token service to the given stations and line for the purpose of maintaining a Legal Fiction, which in Common Law is a tradition that suppositions of fact taken to be true by a court of law are not necessarily true. This maintains the Legal Fiction that the stations and line in question are open, whereas in reality the train operating company has almost completely abandoned them>

This onetime busy railway line enabled passenger services in south Manchester to link with other national services to the north of the city. The factor that led to the decline of the station was its unfortunate location because it is not particularly close to Denton town centre at Crown Point; in fact, it lies ¾ mile away. The station is set among Denton Reservoirs, industrial units, a large roundabout, a trunk road and two motorways and because of this the station has no catchment area from which it can readily derive viable commuter services. Nevertheless, on the positive side, the line is regularly used by freight trains. Railtour specials also use it and from time-to-time these stop at Denton and Reddish South Stations to pick up passengers. These specials can be either steam or diesel hauled.

Entrance to the station on Manchester Road North, 24 March 2008. Flight of steel stairs leading down to the island platform, 24 March 2008.

The embankment of Denton No. 2 Reservoir is on the left.
The timetable for the once weekly train service outside the station entrance, 24 March 2008. Information notice outside the station entrance, 24 March 2008.
Flight of steel stairs leading down to the island platform, 24 March 2008. Flight of steel stairs leading down to the island platform, 24 March 2008.
The island platform, 24 March 2008.

The abandoned eastern platform can be seen on the right and the embankment of Denton No. 2 Reservoir is on the left.
One of two Denton Railway Station signs, 24 March 2008.

The embankment of Denton No. 2 Reservoir is in the background on the right.
Denton Station signal box, early 1970s.

This signal box was situated about 52 yards south of Denton Station on the other side of Manchester Road.

In the top left, above the bridge parapet, the roof of the Queen's Hotel can just be seen.

The signal boxes at Denton Station and Denton Junction were based on a design first introduced by the London & North Western Railway Company in 1876.
Denton Junction signal box, early 1970s.

This signal box was larger than the one at Denton Station and it was situated about about 1,257 yards north of the station. Here the line from Stockport, via Reddish South Railway Station, branched three ways. Westwards was the Ashton Branch Junction Line and Guide Bridge Junction Line, northwards was the Stockport and Guide Bridge Line and eastwards was the Denton and Dukinfield Line (Stalybridge Junction Line), which passed below Hooley Hill in a tunnel. The latter branch is no longer extant.

The buildings to the right of the signal box are part of the Planet Foundry (iron works), which stood on Corporation Road, Audenshaw.

Brief History of the Stockport and Guide Bridge Line
The London & North Western Railway Company (LNWR) was formed in 1846 by the merger of three companies, viz the Grand Junction, London & Birmingham and the Manchester & Birmingham. Subsequently, it acquired the soubriquet of the 'Premier Line' and one of its illustrious ancestors was the Liverpool & Manchester Railway, which at the time of the merger was a constituent of the Grand Junction Railway. The LNWR served several of Britain's major cities, for example, London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Edinburgh and Glasgow, the two latter by means of a facility with the Caledonian Railway Company. Additionally, it operated the Irish Mail Train for the Government between Euston and Holyhead.

By 1848 the Stockport and Guide Bridge Line and the accompanying Stalybridge Junction Line were open throughoutas integral parts of the line connecting London and Leeds via Northampton, Birmingham, Stafford, Shrewsbury, Crewe, Stockport, Stalybridge and Huddersfield. Nevertheless, it is understood that the line through Denton had been cut in 1845 (NoteThomas Middleton, (1936), The History of Denton and Haughton.). The same source states Denton Railway Station did not open until 1882 and that the line was widened (to four tracks) in 1889. However, a map of 1848 clearly shows a small station standing on the site of the later station.


Map of Denton Station, 1848.

A pre-1897 company timetable shows that the Stockport and Guide Bridge Line was used by local trains travelling between Stockport and Stalybridge as well as between Stockport and Manchester (Victoria/Exchange Stations). Owing to the arrangement of Denton Junction, a number of local journey possibilities were available, such as:

Stockport, Heaton Norris, Reddish (South), Denton, Hooley Hill (station on Mount Pleasant Street), Dukinfield & Ashton (station on Cooper Street, Dukinfield) and Stalybridge (Rassbottom Street).
Stockport, Heaton Norris, Reddish (South), Denton, Guide Bridge, Ashton (Park Parade Station, Warrington Street/Lower Wharf Street) and Stalybridge (Rassbottom Street). Between Guide Bridge and Stalybridge, the line of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway was used.
Stockport, Heaton Norris, Reddish (South), Denton, Audenshaw (station on Manchester Road adjoining junction with Droylsden Road), Droylsden, Clayton Bridge (request), Park (request), Miles Platting (request) and Manchester (Victoria/Exchange Stations).

A typical journey time between Stockport and Stalybridge was 26 minutes and between Stockport and Manchester it was 25 to 30 minutes, depending upon the number of halts.

Following the railway grouping on the 1 January 1923, the London & North Western Railway became an integral part of the LM&SR.

This ticket, dating from the LM&SR period, is for a first class return between Reddish (now Reddish South) and Denton, the fare being 6d.

Friends of Denton Station
In July 2010, Andrew Gwynne MP and local councillors gave their support to a Denton campaign to bring more passenger trains onto this line. The object of the campaign is to secure a frequent service running between Stockport and Manchester Victoria. Friends of Reddish South Station have been running a similar campaign for a while.