Crewe is a major route intersection on the West Coast Main Line (WCML) with three separate routes entering from the south – Stoke, Shrewsbury and Stafford (WCML south), and three from the north – Manchester, Chester and Warrington (WCML north).

There is a major freight yard at Basford Hall, south of Crewe on the west side of the main line. So heavy has freight traffic always been in this area that a complex network of lines bypassing the station was constructed between 1896 and 1901, known as the independent lines. These allow access to the Basford Hall freight yard from five of the six converging routes, the only one missing being that from Stoke.

An eight hour timetable is provided from 06:00 with services starting to tail off after 14:00, the final service ending at 14:40.

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