Station Name: HIGH LANE

[Source: Nick Catford & Paul Wright]

Date opened: 2.8.1869
Location: North side of High Lane
Company on opening: Macclesfield, Bollington & Marple Railway
Date closed to passengers: 5.1.1970
Date closed completely: 5.1.1970
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Platforms extant.
County: Cheshire
OS Grid Ref: SJ944857
Date of visit: 6.11.2010

Notes: High Lane was situated on the 11-mile Macclesfield Committee (MC) line to the east of Hazel Grove. The line linked Macclesfield and Marple and was opened as the Macclesfield, Bollington & Marple Railway (MB&MR) on 2 August 1869. The line linked the North Staffordshire Railway (NSR) at Macclesfield to the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway (MSLR) at Marple. The two companies were involved with the MB&MR scheme as they saw it as a means of creating a main line to Manchester that avoided having to use routes in the ownership of the London & North Western Railway (LNWR) who were the dominant company in the area. Ironically, before the line was opened, relations between the LNWR and the NSR had improved resulting in it becoming nothing more than a local route. The MB&MR became a joint line of the MSLR and NR (the MC) in 1871.

The station was located on the north side of the Stockport and Buxton Road and took its name from a small settlement half-a-mile away. The line opened as a single track and the platform at High Lane was located on its east side. Access was via a sloping footpath. Facilities were housed within an austere single-storey brick building whose pitched roof extended forward as a platform canopy, supported by a series of unadorned wooden brackets.

In 1871 the line was doubled at a cost of £16,000 and High Lane was provided with another platform. It was also approached by a sloping footpath and was provided with a pent-roofed brick shelter with a glazed wooden screen to protect waiting passengers from the elements. The original platform became the up (Macclesfield direction) and the addition became the down (Marple). Lighting at the station was provided by oil lamps and would remain so until closure.

A signal box was provided at the time of doubling at the north end of the up platform.

Train services were operated by the MSLR and ran mostly between Macclesfield and Manchester London Road with some shorter workings. By December 1895 there were seven up trains and six down services on Monday-to-Friday. On Saturday there was an additional up train and two extra down services. There were four trains in each direction on Sunday. The station did not have goods facilities but was listed as being able to handle packages and parcels up to 1cwt which were carried by ordinary passenger train.

On 1 August 1897 the MSLR changed its name to the Great Central Railway (GCR).

In 1908 the MC altered its title to the GC/NSR Joint Committee.

By April 1910 High Lane had nine trains in each direction on Monday-to-Friday and ten on Saturday. In the down direction two trains used Hyde or Woodley as their terminus and the rest ran to Manchester London Road.

On 1 January 1923 the GCR became part of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) and the NSR became part of the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) and as a result High Lane and the former MC railway became a joint concern of the two new companies.

At Nationalisation on 1 January 1948 High Lane became part of British Railways (London Midland Region) (BR[LMR]). High Lane was one of the Rose Hill – Macclesfield stations not to be provided with LMR totem nameplates.

In 1951 Jim Noble became Leading Porter at High lane. Jim had worked on the railway from 1939 first as a shunter at Ardwick (Manchester) before becoming a Porter at Marple and then at Rose Hill (Marple). High Lane was Jim's and as the single member of staff based there he won many prizes for best kept station with his own made hanging baskets and flower beds.

The September 1956 timetable showed 11 trains in each direction Monday-to-Friday. On Saturdays there were 12 up and 13 down services. There was a Sunday service of 6 trains in each direction.

The Reshaping of British Railways (‘Beeching’) report of March 1963 earmarked the Romiley (Marple Wharf Junction) – Macclesfield line for closure to passengers. It was not until 29 December 1966 that formal publication of the proposal to withdraw this line’s passenger services took place, by which time many other condemned lines and stations had already closed; it is not known why the process was delayed. The closure hearings ended on 31 March 1967, but matters progressed slowly and it was not until 12 June 1969 that Richard Marsh, Secretary of State for Transport, consented to closure, but reprieved Rose Hill (Marple) station at the northernmost end of the branch, leaving it as the terminus. The last services ran from High Lane on Saturday 3 January 1970 and the station closed completely on 5 January 1970 with the section of line from Rose Hill to Macclesfield. Jim Noble was still the Leading Porter at the time of closure and he served for two more years on the railway before retiring in 1972.

Despite a local attempt to take it over and run train services BR started track- lifting in the later part of 1970 and had completed the task by March 1971.

High Lane station survived in a derelict condition until 1977 and its platforms could still be seen in 2010. The course of the line was converted into a footpath and cycleway called the Middlewood Way in 1985.

Tickets from Michael Stewart, BR timetable Chris Totty, route map drawn by Alan Young


To see other stations on the Marple and Macclesfield line click the name:
Rose Hill Marple, Middlewood Higher, Higher Poynton, Bollington,
Macclesfield MB&MR and Macclesfield Central

High Lane Station Gallery 1: 1950s - August 1969

A Macclesfield Central service is seen departing from High Lane in the early 1950s.

High Lane seen on a 1875 1:2,500 OS map. The line through High Lane was originally single track but was doubled in 1871. This 1875 map shows the double track but there is still only a platform on the up side. The station buildings and ramp down from High Lane are clearly shown.

High Lane seen on a 1898 1:2,500 OS map. By 1898 there is an access ramp on the down side and a waiting shelter on the down platform which was provided after the 1870s widening. A signal box has also been built at the north end of the up platform. Neither a goods yard nor sidings were provided at High Lane although parcels and small items were unloaded onto the platforms. Two cottages for railway workers have been built on the north side of High Lane adjacent to the station. King Pit, in the Cheshire coalfield, had closed by this date.

High Lane shown on a 1930s map.

The handiwork of leading porter Jim Noble is seen on the access ramp to the down platform in 1953. Note the ‘EIIR’, presumably intended to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II that year.
Photo received from Ray Noble

Ex GCR locomotive number 67426 is seen at the High Lane up platform working a class B stopping passenger train in the 1950s. The locomotive was built for the GCR at their Gorton works and entered service as No. 47 in November of 1904. It was absorbed into the LNER and renumbered 5047 during September 1924. Renumbered again in October 1946 to 7426, it passed to BR at nationalisation and received the 6 prefix allocated to most LNER locos. It was withdrawn from 39A, Gorton shed during December 1954 and scrapped during January 1955.
Copyright photo by HC Casserley

The down platform at High Lane station seen from a southbound train in 1954. The distinctive North Staffordshire Railway running-in nameboard will be noted.
Copyright photo by HC Casserley

Leading porter Jim Noble takes delivery of the evening papers c late 1950s. Steam has now given way to DMU operation. A Derby 'Lightweight' 79xxx 2-car unit is seen here.
Photo received from Ray Noble

Looking north along the up platform at High Lane in 1967.
Copyright photo from Stations UK

High Lane station looking north from the down platform in 1969.

A lone passenger prepares to board a Manchester direction train at High Lane on 12 July 1969.
Photo by Neil Ferguson-Lee from his Flickr photostream

Looking south along the up platform at High Lane station in August 1969.
hoto by Pete Hackney from his Flickr photostream

A Manchester train is seen at High Lane in August 1969.
Photo by Pete Hackney from his Flickr photostream

Click here for High Lane Station Gallery 2:
June 1974 - November 2010

Last updated: Sunday, 21-May-2017 11:11:57 CEST
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