The Manchester to Birmingham Railway Company was founded in 1839. Its first public service between Manchester and Sandbach was reported on Saturday 14 May 1842, by the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, thus:
“The second portion of this line, twenty-one miles in length, from Stockport to Sandbach, was opened to the public on Tuesday (10th May 1842). The remaining distance to Crewe, four and a half miles, is expected to be opened early next month, as soon as the company can make arrangements for conveying the whole of the goods traffic along the line.
On Tuesday the company started three trains daily each way between Manchester and Sandbach; those from Manchester at half-past seven o’clock morning, half-past one afternoon, and half-past six evening; those from Sandbach at eight o’clock morning, eleven forenoon, and five afternoon. On Sundays there will be but two trains each way, viz., from Manchester eight morning, and six evening ; and from Sandbach eight morning, and half-past seven evening.
All the trains stop at the intermediate stations between Manchester and Sandbach, of which there are seven, exclusive of Stockport, viz., Rushford. Cheadle, Handford, Wilmslow, Alderley, Chelford, and Holmes Chapel. Chelford is the station for Macclesfield, and a coach runs thence to the town, a distance of seven miles from the station. The journey by railway and coach is nearly an hour shorter than by coach from Manchester.
The first train started from the station, London-road, on Tuesday morning, nominally half-past seven; but, from some little arrangements requisite to be completed, it wanted but 20 minutes of eight o’clock when the start was made. The train, consisting of one carriage of each the three classes, was drawn by the No. 9 engine, manufactured Messrs. Sharp, Roberts, and Co., of this town.
The train reached the Sandbach Station at six minutes before nine o’clock, being about an hour and a quarter for the 26¼ miles from Manchester, including some delays, and the stoppages at eight stations. “
With financial assistance kindly provided by Handforth Town Council and the South Manchester Community Rail Partnership, the Friends of Handforth Station have celebrated the 180th anniversary of the Manchester to Sandbach line by means of a series of banners and posters displayed at the station.
Friends of Stations Groups further along the line (e.g. Wilmslow, Alderley Edge and Holmes Chapel) have celebrated the anniversary in a similar manner.
In addition to the banners and posters, FoHS members designed and built headboards for trains running on the Manchester to Sandbach line on the anniversary day.