Stockport Station

20May 2020

Stockport historic market and church
Stockport’s Historic Market and Church

Stockport station is positioned at high level above the valley of the River Mersey  with lifts that link a pedestrian underpass to central Stockport and Edgeley.

Opened in 1843 as part of the Manchester and Birmingham rail project,  it was initially named Stockport Station but was later changed to Stockport Edgeley Station and then renamed back to Stockport in 1968.

Stockport Viaduct

The unique feature of the station is the brick built archway spanning the river Mersey valley floor allowing trains to enter the station at high level.

When constructed it was the world’s largest viaduct and regarded as a major feat of construction and to this day still remains one of the largest brick built structures.

Standing at 33.8 metres high (111 feet) it used over 11 million bricks and 11,300 cubic metres of stone in its construction at a cost of £72,000, yet was completed in just 21 months between 1839 and 1840. At its peak of construction over 600 men were working in shifts to complete it.

When constructed it was 9.4 metres wide but was later widened again in 880 to accommodate four tracks, and it stands at 546.2 metres long.

The viaduct is constructed with  22 semi-circular arches with spans of 19.2 metres and is flanked by pair of abutment arches of 5.5 metre span.

The arch rings are 900mm thick. and both arches and spandrels are built of red brick (common colour in the area) set in lime mortar with ashlar spring courses.

The deck parapets are 2.2 metres high on either side and the distance between the arch crowns and the top of the parapets is 3.6 metres.

The red brick piers are 3 metres thick by 12.2 metres high and are solid up to 7.9 metres above the springings.  Above that they have 685mm thick walls filled with ballast.

The original track bed was 8.7 metres wide, ballasted with sandstone from cuttings along the railway and the rack drainage was via 100mm diameter iron pipes through the piers.

The Manchester to Stockport line was officially opened on 4 June 1840. However, the viaduct was not completed until 21 December 1840.

On 16 July 1841, the first train crossed the viaduct and it was opened to rail traffic on 10 August 1842 enabling through services to Crewe with onward travel to London.


After the building of the Grand Junction Railway and the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, investors began to look for other routes south of Manchester.

From 1835, the Grand Junction Railway was considering a branch to the Potteries, while the Manchester and Cheshire Junction Railway was planning a line from Manchester to Crewe with branches outwards.

Meanwhile, George Stephenson was investigating a line from Manchester and Stockport to the Potteries, which developed into a proposal for a “Manchester South Union Railway”. Also involved were proposals for competing lines through the Trent valley to Rugby.

After two years of proposals and counter-proposals, what emerged was a scheme to run from a junction from the Grand junction Railway at Chebsey, with branches to Macclesfield and Crewe running into Manchester Store Street,

This proposal received Parliamentary authorisation in 1837 and Stockport Station became a major player serving the towns mills and booming hat industry.

Stockport Railway Station and its Viaduct: A Brief History

Stockport Railway Station is a large station located in the town of Stockport, Greater Manchester, England. The station was first opened in 1840 and has since undergone several changes and upgrades. The most notable feature of the station is the impressive viaduct that spans across the town centre.

The Viaduct

The Stockport Viaduct is a Grade II listed structure that was built between 1840 and 1842. It was designed by George Watson Buck, an engineer who had also worked on the Manchester to Liverpool railway line. The viaduct is 33.85 meters high and 550 meters long and has 27 arches.

The construction of the viaduct was an impressive feat of engineering, especially considering the time period in which it was built. The arches were constructed using a combination of brick and stone, and the viaduct was designed to withstand the weight of steam trains, which were becoming increasingly popular during the mid-19th century.

The viaduct was built to carry trains over the River Mersey and through the centre of Stockport. It was a crucial part of the railway line that linked Manchester to Birmingham, which was completed in 1842. The viaduct was also used to carry freight trains and was an important transport link for the town’s thriving industries.

The viaduct has played a significant role in the town’s history and has become an iconic symbol of Stockport. It has also been featured in several films and television shows, including the BBC’s ‘Life on Mars’ and ‘Ashes to Ashes.’

The Station

The first Stockport Railway Station was opened in 1840, the same year that construction began on the viaduct. The station was initially only used by passengers traveling between Manchester and Stockport, but it was soon expanded to include other destinations.

The original station was located on the south side of the viaduct and had two platforms. In 1860, a new station was built on the north side of the viaduct, which had four platforms and was designed to handle a larger volume of passengers.

In 1880, the station underwent another major expansion, which included the construction of a large train shed. The shed was designed by the architect Alfred Waterhouse, who also designed Manchester’s Town Hall and the Natural History Museum in London. The train shed was a vast structure that covered the entire station and provided shelter for passengers and trains alike.

During the 20th century, the station continued to undergo changes and upgrades. In the 1960s, the station was electrified, and new rolling stock was introduced. The station was also modernized, with the addition of escalators, automatic ticket machines, and other amenities.

In 1995, the station was designated as a Grade II listed building, which recognized its architectural and historical significance.

Today, Stockport Railway Station is a busy transport hub, with services to destinations across the North West of England. The station has six platforms and is used by millions of passengers each year.


Stockport Railway Station and its viaduct are important landmarks in the town’s history. The viaduct is an impressive engineering feat that has stood the test of time and remains a crucial transport link for the town. The station has undergone several changes and upgrades over the years and has become an important transport hub for the region.

The station and viaduct are also important cultural landmarks, and have featured in several films and television shows. They are a testament to the town’s rich history and heritage, and continue to play an important role in its ongoing development.


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