Notes: Macclesfield Central was located on the North Staffordshire Railway (NS) Stoke and Macclesfield line but it was a joint station of the Macclesfield Committee (MC) which was a joint railway of the NS and the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR). The MC was responsible for an 11-mile line that ran between Macclesfield and Marple Wharf. The line was promoted by the Macclesfield, Bollington & Marple Railway (MB&MR) and authorised on 14 July 1864. It opened between a temporary southern terminus station at Macclesfield and Marple on 2 August 1869. At Marple Wharf the line connected to the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR) and Midland Railway (MR) Manchester and Derby line. The original intention was that at Macclesfield the line would connect with the North Staffordshire Railway (NS). Both the MS&LR and the NS had a financial stake of £80,000 in the MB&MR and they agreed to operate and maintain it. The purpose of the line was to allow the NS to reach Manchester and the MS&LR to reach Staffordshire whilst also serving the cotton trade at Bollington. The NS shared a station with the London & North Western Railway (LNWR) at Macclesfield where the lines of both companies had an end-on junction. The LNWR had constantly frustrated the plans of the NS to reach Manchester and was also hostile to the MS&LR; this antagonism was one of the drivers behind the MB&MR scheme.
By the time the MB&MR line had opened the LNWR had changed its attitude towards the NS and granted running powers over the LNWR route to Manchester. The NS wanted the LNWR to build a joint station at Macclesfield that would have served all of the lines. The LNWR refused to do this and so a separate station had to be provided.
In 1871 the MB&MR was vested as the Macclesfield MC. Having opened as a single-track railway it was doubled in 1871 at a cost of £16,000.
All efforts to create a joint station with the LNWR came to nothing and the MC decided to build a station of its own to the south of the LNWR station on the NS line. To enable trains from the Marple line to reach the station a connecting line of ¼-mile was built in 1873 which bypassed the original temporary station to the east and formed a junction with the NS on the north side of Buxton Road.
Macclesfield Central opened on 1 July 1873 and the original MB&MR facility closed. The station was located on an embankment on a section of line that was originally double track. There were lengthy single-storey brick buildings with hipped roofs on both platforms, each with a centrally located entrance portico leading into the booking hall, which itself stood forward of the building line. Each platform had a generous verandah a screen wall at the southern end. The west platform verandah was formed by the hipped roof of the platform buildings, whilst on the east side the verandah had its own hipped roof. On both platforms the verandah was given a deep, serrated and pierced valance. On the east platform a lengthy screen wall decorated with blind arcading extended north of the building as a back wall to the platform.
The down line platform (Marple direction) was reached from Waters Green and the up (Stoke direction) from Goodwin Green. A subway provided access between the platforms.
The station was served by MC and by NS trains but all LNWR services passed through making interchange with main line services difficult. The MC line trains were worked by the MS&LR. The December 1895 timetable showed 7 up services Monday-to-Saturday all of which ran to Stafford. There were 9 terminating services from the Marple line Monday-to-Friday and 11 on Saturdays. In the down direction there were 14 services Monday-to-Friday. Six of the trains ran to Manchester London Road via the LNWR route (via Stockport) and 6 trains ran to Manchester London Road via the Marple line. Two trains ran to Bollington. On Saturdays there were was an extra train to Bollington, a train to Woodley and an extra train to Manchester London Road via the Marple line. On Sundays there were 3 up services and 4 terminating trains from the Marple line. Eight down trains ran 4 to Manchester via Stockport and 4 via Marple.
On 1 August 1897 the MS&LR changed its name to the Great Central Railway (GCR).
By 1898 the line through Central station had been quadrupled. This was achieved by narrowing both platforms.
The July 1922 timetable showed 6 up trains serving locations including Uttoxeter and Leek. There were 8 terminating services from the Marple line all of which had originated from Manchester London Road. Extra traind ran on Wednesdays and on Saturdays and there was a limited Sunday service on both lines. In the down direction there were 17 trains 9 of which travelled via the Marple line. There were extra services on Saturdays and Wednesdays and a limited Sunday service.
On 1 January 1923 the owning partners of the MC became the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) who absorbed the NS and the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) who absorbed the GCR.
The LMS timetable for the summer of 1932 showed an improved level of service. There were 25 departures for the Marple line Monday-to-Friday 11 of which went to Manchester and 14 of which went to Bollington. The Bollington trains were one class only services. There were extra train on Saturdays and there were 7 Sunday departures all of which ran to Manchester London Road. There were also 10 Monday-to-Friday down trains that ran via the former LNWR route with extra trains on Saturdays and a good Sunday service. The up service was equally as good with destinations served including Stoke-on-Trent, Leek and Uttoxeter.
On 1 January 1948 Macclesfield Central became part of British Railways London Midland Region
Vitreous enamel running-in nameboards and complementary totem name signs were installed at Macclesfield Central by BR.
As part of the BR modernisation plan of 1955 electrification was proposed for the line between Manchester and Stoke. As part of the works it was decided to create one station for Macclesfield. A new station which opened on 11 September 1961 was built on the site of Macclesfield Central. The former LNWR station at Hibel Road was closed and demolished. The new station was called simply Macclesfield and contained no features from the original. New running-in boards and totems were provided bearing the new, simplified name of the station. It also extended further south than Central had. The subway from the original station survived out of use and was visited in September 2013.
Marple line trains used the new station until Saturday 3 January 1970, the service being withdrawn completely on 5 January 1970.
Tickets from Michael Stewart, BR timetable from Chris Totty, route map drawn by Alan Young
To see more Michael Stewart tickets click here.
To see other stations on the Marple and Macclesfield line click the name:
Rose Hill Marple, High Lane, Middlewood Higher, Higher Poynton, Bollington and Macclesfield MSLR & NS Joint