Micklehurst Loop

Also known as the Stalybridge & Diggle Loop and the Stalybridge & Saddleworth Loop, the Micklehurst Loop was constructed by the London & North Western Railway (L&NWR) to increase capacity on the Huddersfield & Manchester Railway. The 6¾ mile line opened to goods services in December 1885 and to passenger services in May 1886.

Although the line had several passenger stations, they began to be closed from 1907 onwards as the Micklehurst Loop was increasingly used for goods services.

The loop line was closed to through traffic in 1966 and much of the trackbed was lifted soon afterwards.


58-year-old Betty Hall (mother of Josiah Hall) was killed whilst crossing the line at Friezland Station in June 1890. The station master, Thomas Dingle, had seen the danger Mrs. Hall was in and had tried to grab her, but she was struck by the Manchester to Hull express train. She had been carrying a young girl, Annie Tinker (aged 3½), who was thrown under the platform and received cuts to the head.[1]

The wooden station at Micklehurst was partially destroyed by fire on the night of 21 July 1893. According to newspaper reports, it was believed an ember from a passing goods train had started the fire, which engulfed the porters' room and waiting rooms.[2]

On 10 August 1909, a passenger train partially derailed near to Friezland Station whilst travelling at around 60mph, killing the engine driver (William Turton of Huddersfield, aged 40) and stoker (James Albert Oates of Brighouse, aged 20), and injuring 13 passengers.[3]

Principal Features

Going northeastwards, the loop line branched off from the main line at a junction just after Stalybridge Station...

  • Stalybridge New Tunnel (approx. 300 yards long)
  • Knowl Street Viaduct (demolished 1991)
  • Staley & Millbrook Station (closed to passengers in 1909)
  • Micklehurst Station (closed to passengers in 1907)
  • Friezland Station (closed to passengers in 1917)
  • Greenfield Viaduct (marked as Friezland Viaduct on O.S. maps)
  • Royal George Tunnel (approx. 140 yards long)
  • Upper Mill Station (closed to passengers in 1917)
  • Butterhouse Tunnel (approx. 330 yards long, also known as Ryefield Tunnel)

The loop line rejoined the main line near to Dobcross Loom Works to the south of Diggle Junction.


The route of the Micklehurst Loop is shown below in black, along with the earlier main line in red:

Further Reading

Notes and References

  1. "Terrible Fatality at Friezland Station" in Leeds Times (14/Jun/1890). Annie appears to have become a school teacher (1911 Census)
  2. "Micklehurst Railway Station on Fire" in Manchester Evening News (22/Jul/1893).
  3. "Railway Smash" in Leeds Mercury (21/Aug/1909) and "Friezland Railway Disaster" in Manchester Courier & Lancashire General Advertiser (10/Nov/1909).