"The service, an empty charter service, consisting of two class 47 diesel locomotives and five coaches, operated by West Coast Railways, was traveling from Ardwick to Carnforth.
"Services out of Manchester Piccadilly heading west towards Newton-le-Willows and Preston are severely impacted as the route is currently blocked."
West Coast Railways are a specialist operator famed for owning the "Hogwarts Express" which has featured in all of the Harry Potter films.
A lot of their locomotives are steam trains but the one which derailed was a 1960s diesel train.
A British Transport Police (BTP) spokesman confirmed their officer attended along with members of Greater Manchester Police and they have launched an investigation.
They said: "One of the carriages of the train, a charted service ran by West Coast Railways, has derailed from the rail line but remains upright.
"No passengers were onboard the train at the time of incident and the driver is safe and well."
"Officers, along with other emergency services and agencies, will be working to establish the full circumstances."