The double-track line from Oldham Clegg Street to Greenfield and Delph closed to passengers in 1955, with complete closure following in 1963.

Passenger trains ceased running on the Delph Donkey in April 1955, although a limited number of freight trains continued to use the line until November 1963. The track was lifted in 1964 to turn the line between Oldham and Grotton into a cycle and walk way. The line between Moorgate and Delph became the Delph Donkey Trail footpath and bridleway, on which the halts at Dobcross and Measurements are now marked by replica station nameboards. The section of the railway between Greenfield and Grotton was either abandoned as waste land or converted into small footpaths. A section of the line that ran below Grasscroft through Friezland is now part of a large housing estate. As of 2012, old pieces of track, that had not been moved since the closure almost 50 years before, remained outside Bailey Mill at the old Delph terminus.

Source: Delph Donkey – Wikipedia.
The promoters (unknown) of a scheme to restore the line from Oldham Mumps to Greenfield via Grotton made a submission to the Department for Transport Restoring Your Railway Fund. An award from this fund enables a scheme promoter to make progress towards developing a business case. The scheme was not among those selected to receive funding.
Oldham – Greenfield – Delph line | Credit: Thaddeus Epson

Source: Thaddeus Epson (@thaddeus_epson), Delph to Oldham branch—‘The Delph Donkey’ on Disused Railway Stations website
Map showing route of Oldham – Greenfield line

© OpenStreetMap contributors | OpenStreetMap copyright notice | View context map

The tunnel running underneath Lydgate, connecting Grasscroft and Grotton, is still completely intact and maintained, but it is unused and completely inaccessible. It was felt, after lifting the track and deciding the future use of the new available land, that it would be too costly and dangerous to collapse or infill the tunnel, especially as there were more structures above the tunnel, such as housing, than there had been when the tunnel was built in the mid-19th century. Minor work was carried out in the 1980s, as part of a planned maintenance programme, which in-filled the centre air vent to avoid any subsidence. In 2008, 44 years after the tunnel had been last used, a routine inspection revealed some areas of loose and hollow brickwork in the tunnel lining. Routine maintenance work to rectify that was carried out by BRB (Residuary) Limited, with substantial areas of the tunnel lining replaced with new brickwork, incorporating drainage pipes and other securing works. News of the inspection and remedial work led to concern by some local people that the tunnel was near to collapse, but BRB(R) stated that was never a risk, and the work was just on-going planned maintenance.

Source: Delph Donkey – Wikipedia.
Location of Lydgate Tunnel portals

© OpenStreetMap contributors | OpenStreetMap copyright notice | View context map

Overview of Greater Manchester reopening schemes

Read about Gamesley station Read about the Rose Hill Marple – Hazel Grove line Read about Golburne station Read about Kenyon Junction station Read about the Altrincham – Stockport line Read about the Glazebrook Junction – Skelton Junction line Read about the East Didsbury – Stockport line Read about the Manchester Victoria – Ashton – Stockport line Read about the Oldham Mumps – Greenfield line Read about the Bury – Heywood – Rochdale line Read about the Bury – Rawtenstall line Read about the Bolton – Bury line Read about the Bolton – Radcliffe line Read about the Bolton – Walkden line

Further reading

Delph to Oldham branch—‘The Delph Donkey’, by Thaddeus Epson, on Disused Railway Stations website (in-depth coverage with maps and photos)

Delph Donkey – Wikipedia

Ordnance Survey map, Oldham – Greenfield, 1951