The North Staffordshire Railway (NSR) was a British railway company formed in 1845 to promote a number of lines in the Staffordshire Potteries and surrounding areas in Staffordshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire and Shropshire.
The company was based in Stoke-on-Trent and was nicknamed The Knotty; its lines were built to the standard gauge of 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm). The main routes were constructed between 1846 and 1852 and ran from Macclesfield to Norton Bridge, just north of Stafford, and from Crewe to Egginton Junction, west of Derby. Within these main connections with other railway companies, most notably the London and North Western Railway (LNWR), the company operated a network of smaller lines although the total route mileage of the company never exceeded 221 miles (355.7 km). The majority of the passenger traffic was local although a number of LNWR services from Manchester to London were operated via Stoke. Freight traffic was mostly coal and other minerals but the line also carried the vast majority of china and other pottery goods manufactured in England.
As the NSR was surrounded by other larger railway companies, there were in the 19th century several attempts emanating from other companies or proposals from NSR shareholders to amalgamate with one or more of the other companies that adjoined it. None of these came to fruition and the NSR remained an independent company up to 1923 when it became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company.