The Huddersfield and Manchester Railway Company bought the canal in 1846 for £150,885, which spelt the end of the canal as a commercial concern. The railway to Stalybridge was opened in 1849, and trade on the canal declined, till it was abandoned in 1944.
The station at Marsden, which is still in operation, had extensive goods sidings, which were used to supply the mills with coal.
There are three railway tunnels at Standedge. The first was a single track tunnel, finished in 1848. The second, begun at the same time, wasn't completed till 1871. The third tunnel was for a double track, and was finished in 1894. It is 3 miles 64 yards long, and is the tunnel which is used today by the Manchester-Leeds line.