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Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar

1885 - Present Day

Blue Plaque for Stalybridge Station Buffet BarThe blue plaque was unveiled on 16th July 1994 by Cllr Eileen Shorrock and is sited within the Buffet Bar. It celebrates a unique building which dates from the late Victorian era and serves as a reminder of a time when the railways brought prosperity to the town of Stalybridge.

The railway comes to town

Work began on the Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester Railway in 1838. It was much needed, as the canal journey from Sheffield to Manchester took eight days (weather, water supply and ice permitting), and even pack horses took two days for the journey. The main line was built in just over seven years and, together with the branch to Stalybridge, it was opened to the public on 23rd December 1845. Stalybridge was now a railway town, but this was just the beginning.

The building of a new station

The line to Huddersfield via the Standedge Tunnel was opened in 1849, and by the mid 1870s as many as two hundred passenger and freight trains a day, operated by three railway companies, were using the station. So congested did things become that in 1877 Stalybridge Town Council threatened to send a deputation to the Board of Trade to press for better facilities.

The new "joint station", shared by what were then the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway and the London & North Western Railway, was opened on 21st May 1885. The refreshment rooms, now known as the Buffet Bar, date from this time.

The Station and Buffet Bar today

With the decline of heavy industry, and the rise and rise of the motor car, railway traffic through Stalybridge is much reduced. The two main platforms of the old joint station remain however, as do the main buildings and much of the canopy on the "downside". The Buffet Bar retains many original features, and travellers and townspeople alike can still enjoy a pint or a cup of tea there, surrounded by mementos of an earlier time, and watched over by the image of Queen Victoria etched in the glass of the great mirror that hangs above the fire.

Text by Robert Powell of "Friends of Stalybridge Station"

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