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Wednesday, 6 August 2014



  The Chancellor has recently made a new announcement, proposing an east-west high speed rail link to be added to the existing HS2 plans. He gave no details, but he mentioned Manchester and Leeds as being likely to be involved. At this month’s meeting we thought we should give this announcement a guarded welcome. The route we want established is, of course, Manchester to Sheffield. However at the very least Mr Osborne is finally recognising the need to develop east-west rail communications in northern England.

There is no denying that we are chasing a moving target. We want to associate political and commercial movers and shakers with our campaign, but we are in no position to be precise about the finer detail of what we would like them to associate themselves with. In fact this may not be entirely a bad thing. We are not trying to unmake any entrenched plans or get any firm decisions reversed. While proposals are still fluid we need to look for ways of making sure that they develop in ways that suit what we are trying to achieve. However if we want allies we need to have something to offer them.

So who else wants, or might want, a Manchester to Sheffield link?  Operating from west of the Pennines we have always ‘thought Manchester’.  In fact it may be that ‘railway consciousness’ is stronger in Sheffield than it is on the west side. Obviously this has to be worth sounding out, at least, so our next move will be to see who we can find in Sheffield who shares our ideas.  One thing that we definitely have got  going for us is the tremendous amount of detailed work that has been done by our in-house civil engineer Colin Elliff. Colin’s scope is much wider than ours, but his proposals include what we are looking for.  So Sheffield here we come.

Dave Brysson - Chair - Re-open the Woodhead Line 

Thursday, 16 January 2014

New Year Greetings from Re-open the Woodhead Line - The Campaign in 2014

                              THE WOODHEAD CAMPAIGN IN 2014


 First,  a happy New Year to everyone. 

HS2 has changed the entire scene, but it has not changed our objectives. We are still determined:-

. to restore a fast rail link between Manchester and Sheffield, both for passengers and freight
. to oppose any further motorway construction over the Dark Peak

The basic objective of ‘HS2’, even in its present unsatisfactory form, is the right one – to add strategic rail capacity. What we need to do is to use the better things in the proposal to serve our specific objectives for a Trans-Pennine link.  The Northern Hub, while admirable in its way for easing rail traffic around Manchester, is not a strategic proposal of the kind we need.  For our purpose we need to:-
·          get people with clout on to our side before the ‘HS2’ proposals are implemented in the wrong form

·          get the message across that as the HS2 proposals stand the approach to Manchester from the south is the wrong thing.  A Manchester Labour MP pointed out just recently that to approach Manchester from the east via Woodhead not only makes more sense but serves the national interest by enabling an east-west rail freight link.
As a specific issue there is the question of where the electric cables should go. We want to ensure that these are not laid along the existing track bed, when there is a feasible and better route along the old construction rail track on the other side of the reservoirs.
For 2014 we would like to canvas ideas from the entire Woodhead group membership on how best to go about all this. Colin Elliff has done an immense amount of work on high speed rail in the UK as a professional civil engineer, which is available to us, and hopefully we will show the determination to make the best use of it. 

Finally, apologies for and acknowledgement of stealing the above photo, which is excellent, from the following website:-

Hopefully they won't mind, if in return you use the above link to visit their website, where incidentally you can view many other great pictures. Woodhead is however one station we would love to be able to remove from the disused stations website but for all the right reasons.


David Bryson/Steve Bagshaw

Chair/ Vice-chair Reopen the Woodhead Line

Monday, 15 April 2013


Same place, usual time 3rd Thursday of the month, i.e. 18 April 7.30 p.m.

Place Glossop Labour Club, Chapel Street, Glossop (facing the Market steps).

Civil engineer Christopher Quayle will give another showing of our group's ideas on the place of the dormant Woodhead route in current national rail strategies.

All welcome. No admission charge, bar open from 7 p.m.

Chair, Reopen the Woodhead Line.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

                                                 Lynda Price R I P

It is with the deepest sadness that I have to inform the group of the sudden death of Lynda Price yesterday morning, Wednesday 3 April 2013. Many members of the group will remember Lynda from her time as Secretary, a post she stood down from following a serious fall. Her sudden death yesterday in Manchester Royal Infirmary seems to have been from complications consequent on another accident.

I am sure everyone who remembers Lynda will feel a personal sense of loss, and our deepest sympathy and commiserations have been expressed to her partner, our Membership Secretary Peter Swinnerton.

David Bryson
Chair, Reopen the Woodhead Line.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Reconnecting Woodhead presentation - 7.30pm, Thursday 21st March 2013

Presentation by the 'Re-open the Woodhead Line group'

7.30pm, T
hursday 21 March 2013

Glossop Labour Club, Chapel Street Glossop

Matching the government's welcome new strategic thinking for railways with some strategic thinking of our own for Woodhead. The elephant in the room is as always Britain's carbon targets and the need for a paradigm-shift from roads to rails.

Anyone is welcome to attend, from rail buffs to environments and those concerned with local issues.
For those with an interest in where transport policy may be going, mainly but not entirely with a focus on Woodhead.

Chaired by Ro-open the Woodhead Line chair David Bryson, featuring presentations from and Q&A with Christopher Quayle a civil engineer with experience of the rail industry.

Bar open from 7 pm, presentations at 7.30pm. Interval at 8.30p, 9.30pm end time.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013


** The basic objectives of the Reopen the Woodhead Line campaign are still what they always were:

.  The transport bottleneck over the Dark Peak needs a solution. For various environmental reasons this calls for a railway and not another motorway. The local impact of a motorway would be horrific, and although Britain's carbon targets get forgotten about for long periods, that issue has not gone away and it will look worse when the next panic sets in.

Manchester and Sheffield have inadequate rail links for cities of their size and importance. The improvements announced are welcome -- enhancement of the Hope Valley line and the electrification of the Huddersfield line (if that counts as a link with Sheffield) together with links between the Manchester termini. However in the last resort this is housekeeping where a strategy is what is needed.

The HS2 proposals are at last official. The regulars at the Woodhead meetings have been considering the proposals in draft for years, and our number happens to include a genuine expert civil engineer. As we see it, it's impossible to think of Woodhead in isolation from this. Nobody, not even the management of the HS2 project, is claiming that the route as proposed is how it will finally turn out. The Woodhead group welcomes the opportunities that HS2 provides, and in a fully constructive spirit we feel we should press immediately for a change to the HS2 approach to Manchester. This envisages something over 7 miles of tunneling under residential areas, when there is a first class rail route (Woodhead) from the east still substantially in place. The tunnels and the solum will need further expansion, but that looks a rather 'minor' issue compared with boring 7 miles under south Manchester. It also offers the opportunity for an east-west rail freight link between Immingham and Liverpool. The government are at least thinking strategically now, so we feel we should press for enhancements to the strategy at this early stage. **

The next meeting (Thur 21 Feb, 7.30 p.m. in Glossop Labour Club, Chapel Street Glossop) will be setting a date and place for our next public presentation.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Woodhead Sparks Improved Transpennine Rail Route


News that National Grid is to install a new supply point at Stalybridge, to support the forthcoming electrification of the transpennine route via Diggle, means that Woodhead will be contributing to the effectiveness of the electrified railway from December 2016.

The obvious disappointment is that this is not going to be via a reinstated railway line but instead increased use of the replacement National Grid cables through the new Woodhead Tunnel.

However the campaign to restore the rail route continues to grow and both Railfuture and the Campaign for Better Transport continue to support re-opening in order to improve rail links across the Pennines between two of Britain's biggest cities.

Our campaign group, Re-open the Woodhead Line meet every third Thursday in the month at Glossop Labour Club, 7.30pm.

Please feel free to join us at our next meeting this Thursday 17th of May. All Welcome

Thursday, 15 December 2011

XMAS FUN QUIZ - Monday 19th December 2011 @ Glossop Labour Club 7.30pm



Map of Venue

Hi Folks,

All in all it's been a busy year for the Re-open the Woodhead Line group, what with it being the 30th Anniversary year of the closure of the line. On St. Patrick's Day we held a slideshow on the history of the Woodhead line and followed that up in May with a Rail Users Forum at which no less than 2 M.P.'s were in attendance (Angela Smith & Shadow Rail Mnister, Andrew Gwynne).

July involved much courting of the media to publicise the then forthcoming anniversary celebrations/commiserations?! This paid fine dividends with our wreath laying ceremony at Manchester Piccadilly (in memory of those who lost their lives in building the tunnels) meriting coverage on both the BBC and ITN news programs.

Then of course the autumn saw the Woodhead Special, a whole day of Woodhead related material presented by the Great Central Railway Society, providing a veritable feast of information for Woodhead enthusiasts.

So by way of giving ourselves and yourselves a chance to wind down for the year's end, we present a fun quiz that does not involve trains, railways, gauges, anoraks or even nerdy related questions that allude to a certain form of transport.

No. This will be a fun quiz to provide a light hearted finale to what has been a hard year of campaigning. So come along for a beer and a laugh and to participate in a fun quiz, regardless of whether you are a member or supporter or otherwise.

There may be food on the evening or there may be not. There may be a prize for the winner or there may be not. What I can definately guarantee is that there will be a fun quiz, there will be me, the quizmaster and hopefully: there will be you too - and that's all we need. See you there.

Map of Venue

XMAS FUN QUIZ - Monday 19th December - Glossop Labour Club 7.30pm

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


Hi everyone, all aboard,

As Thursday 17th November is the third Thursday in the month, it means we will be holding the regular monthly meeting of the Re-open Woodhead Line, same time, same place, namely, Glossop Labour Club, Chapel St at 7.30pm, just behind the outdoor market square. Please feel free to come by and drop in, all welcome.

For no reason whatsoever, except it's a beautiful photo and I took it, here's a snap of the steam train used to mark the opening of the Rowsley to Matlock railway on 2nd of July this year. Here's a link to copy and paste into your browser if you want more details:-

As it's my photo and I own the copyright, please feel free to copy and paste it to your own site or your desktop with my permission. I'm not arsy about such things and I know how difficult it can be to get good photos for your blogs.

Hope to see some of you at the meeting.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

AUTUMN MEETING - The Woodhead Special

SATURDAY 22ND OCTOBER 2011 - The WOODHEAD SPECIAL at St. John's Community Centre, Church St, Penistone.

Hi Folks,

As our members and regular readers will know by now, we normally meet at Glossop Labour Club on the third Thursday of each month. This month however is an exception to that rule and there will be no October meeting of the
Re-Open Woodhead Line group until November, when we will be putting on a presentation regarding the future options for Woodhead. Details of that event will be posted nearer the time.

Instead we are encouraging our members and supporters to attend a special
Woodhead event that has been organised by the Great Central Railway Society, details of which can be found below:

Autumn Meeting 2011: "The Woodhead Special"
Saturday 22 October 2011
at St.John's Community Centre, Church Street, Penistone, South Yorkshire S36 6AR.
5 minutes from the railway station.

10:30 - Doors open
11:00 - Talk by John Quick: "The Woodhead Line"
12:30 - Lunch break with displays and sales stand.
14:00 - Talk by Stephen Gay: "Woodhead: The Lost Railway"
16:15 - Meeting ends
The venue (pictured) is quite easy to find in the centre of Penistone and near the church, the giveaway being that it is located on Church St! For anyone coming from outside the area that is unfamiliar with the Penistone area, click the link below to get your bearings, then zoom in. Basically, we're talking the Woodhead side of Barnsley.
Map of Venue
The lovely town of Penistone is very accessible from the Sheffield side but not from the Manchester-Glossop area (that is to say by train of course) which is the whole raison d'etre of the Re-Open Woodhead Line group, namely to rectify this glaring transport inadequacy between two of England's major cities.
This special event features two of the best known and authorative speakers on the subject on Woodhead namely John Quick who gave a presentation for us in Glossop last St. Patrick's day and Stephen Gay, whose name goes before him and is synonymous with Woodhead itself.

The day will serve up a veritable feast for Woodhead enthusiasts and we encourage anyone who can attend this special event to do so - it deserves your support and promises to be a day to remember.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Woodhead route in Rail Magazine

There is a six page profile of the Woodhead route and our campaign in the latest edition of Rail Magazine, find out more here:​ws/default.asp?storyID=7

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Re-open the Woodhead Line on Facebook and Flickr

Re-open the Woodhead Line now has Facebook and Flickr accounts. If you use any of these social media sites pay us a visit and 'like' us or 'friend' us. It's an easy way to show your support and keep in touch with latest developments.

On Facebook we're here:

On Flickr we're here:

Sunday, 17 July 2011

30th Anniversary events

Saturday 16th July 2011 saw Re-open the Woodhead Line mark 30 years since the closure of the Manchester-Sheffield rail route.

The day began with simultaneous wreath laying ceremonies at Manchester Piccadilly and Sheffield Victoria to remember those navvies who died in the construction of the Woodhead Tunnel and route. In Manchester, Shadow Rail Secretary Andrew Gwynne MP made a short speech before Re-open the Woodhead Line treasurer Steve Bagshaw laid a wreath below the plaque at platform 1 that once lay at the entrance to the Woodhead Tunnel. In Sheffield, members of the Don Valley Railway laid a wreath at Sheffield Victoria, the now closed station that used to be the terminus for Woodhead services.

Campaigners then made their way towards a meeting point above the Woodhead Tunnel. On the train from Manchester out to the route's current terminus at Hadfield, passengers enjoyed an impromptu folk train performance from singer songwriter Aidan Jolly.

Demonstrating the lengths required to make it along the Woodhead route without a railway service, people then made their way to the tunnel mid-point, by cycle, car and on foot.

Three hours later the intrepid few, braved (un)seasonable stormy weather to meet on the moor above the Woodhead Tunnel's mid-point. Campaigners who had made their way from Sheffield and Manchester shook hands and celebrated the event with a few pints of specially brewed Tunnel Vision ale.

The events commemorated the route's closure but also highlighted the real need for it's re-opening. 30 years after the decision was made to close the line it seems the political will may now be there to push for it's re-opening. Meanwhile campaigners on both sides of the Pennines will keep making the case.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

See you Saturday!

We've had lots of interest about Saturday's events including a fair bit of press coverage.

You can meet us at several points:
9.30 Platform 1, Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station
11am Hadfield Station (walk/cycle)
11.30 Deepcar Station (with Don Valley Railway)
2.30pm at the mid-point on the moor above the Woodhead Tunnel (car park on the map below, at the 'P' by Salter's Brook Bridge on the A628)

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Sat 16th July 2011: Events marking 30 years since the closure of the Woodhead Line

For the sake of sixteen miles!

09.30 - Platform 1, Manchester Piccadilly Station
11.00 - Cycle and walk from Hadfield Station to Woodhead
12.30 - Congregate at Tunnelhead entrance at Woodhead
14.30 - Meeting on moor with campaigners from Yorkshire

Calling for the re-opening of the Woodhead line!

Saturday 16th July 2011 marks exactly 30 years since the last train ran along the Woodhead line from Manchester to Sheffield. To commemorate this sad milestone Re-open the Woodhead Tunnel Route campaign are staging a series of events.

Help us lay a wreath at Piccadilly Station where the tunnel’s entrance plaque is now sited, take a walk from Hadfield station along the old route bed or meet us on the moor at the tunnel’s midpoint. This event is not only about looking back but calling for the route’s re-opening and campaigning for it’s future use.

Come and join us!

Re-open the Woodhead Line Campaign
email: reopenthewoodheadline at

Sip a taste of 'Tunnel Vision Bitter'

Add Image
Don Valley Railway have brought you with the help of the Brew Company 'Tunnel Vision Bitter'. This is delivered right on time to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the closure of the Woodhead Route. It is 4.2 percent proof.

Having sampled it, it is a bitter bitter! It has a real kick to it. It is possibly the best £2.60 I've ever spent! Its available in Sheffield at The Harlequin, The Hillsborough Hotel, The Riverside and The Kelham Island Tavern, and should shortly be arriving at the Rutland and The University Arms. It is available far and wide across the country with orders coming in from as far away as Berwick upon Tweed.

Chris Bell,
Don Valley Railway Campaign

Friday, 17 June 2011

30 Years and counting - Woodhead Anniversary events

For the sake of sixteen miles!

Saturday 16th July 2011 marks exactly 30 years since the last train ran along the Woodhead line from Manchester to Sheffield. To commemorate this sad milestone Re-open the Woodhead Tunnel Route campaign are staging a series of events including a wreath laying at Manchester Piccadilly, a walk/cycle to the tunnel and a symbolic meeting with our friends from the Sheffield side on the moors above the mid-point of the tunnel.

In making our way to the route's mid-point we are demonstrating the extreme lengths people go to for the sake of sixteen miles of missing track.

Provisional details are listed below but we'll be confirming arrangements in the next few weeks. If you'd like to help out or get involved with the event please contact us:

Oh, and did I mention, there will also be an especially brewed real ale, 'Tunnel Vision' a mid brown 4% strength session beer has been produced by Pete Roberts, micro-brewer and landlord of the Harlequin Pub, Nursery Street, Sheffield and should be available in real ale pubs in Sheffield, Huddersfield, Manchester and at many locations across the north of England.

Many thanks to our good friends from Don Valley Railway for organising the beer, we will meet representatives from their group on the moor above the Woodhead Tunnel mid-point.

Saturday 16th July 2011 (exact details tbc)

9.30am - meet Platform 1, Manchester Piccadilly Station

10.18am - Train to Hadfield (hopefully a folk train)

10.59 - Arrive Hadfield

11.00 - For the Sake of Sixteen Miles... Cycle and walk to Woodhead (car lifts on request)

12.30 - Congregate at Woodhead Tunnel entrance, Woodhead

2.30 - Meeting on moor with Don Valley Railway representatives

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Rail Campaigner's Summit report

Rail Campaigner's Summit – Guide Bridge Theatre - 26th May 2011

Over 40 rail campaigners attended the event organised by the Re-open the Woodhead Line Campaign at Guide Bridge Theatre on 26th May 2011.

Dave Shaw welcomed everybody and recognised the support the Woodhead group had received from Railfuture in funding the event.

The opening speech was given by Andrew Gwynne who made an appeal to grass-root rail campaigners to support the development of the Opposition's rail and wider transport strategy. Andrew set out the national context for rail developments, including the reduced budget for rail developments. The plans to bring a regular service back to Reddish South and Denton had his strong support, as well as the need for more rail capacity between Manchester and Sheffield and he believed a re-opened Woodhead line could be part of the solution.

Northern Rail provided an informative presentation about their Route 28 strategy. This is a low cost / high impact strategy to improve the facilities and appearance of stations on two historic lines out of Manchester to Liverpool (via Chat Moss) and Glossop / Hadfield. Dwayne Wells, Service Quality Manager from Northern, spoke particularly about his aspirations for Hadfield Station.

This led nicely into the next presentation which was from Steve Bagshaw, one of the members of the Campaign to Re-open the Woodhead Line group. Steve made an important announcement – the setting up of a Friends of Hadfield Station group (FoHS). This would be in partnership with Northern Rail and the partnership was consequently christened 'Friends and FoHS'.

Steve also recounted his trip to deliver an important consignment to the HQ of his local authority by rail. This involved exiting and re-entering the county four times, travelling from Glossop via Manchester, Sheffield and Derby before heading NORTH to Matlock. A distance of 38 miles which took 9.5 hours for the return journey!

A series of presentations followed from local campaign groups; first of all Kim Burrows and Dot Ashworth spoke of the campaign by the Friends of Reddish South station to get a regular service re-instated between Reddish, Denton and Manchester Victoria. This had received endorsement from Stockport Borough Council, Travelwatch Northwest and nationally by Railfuture. Both spoke of the importance of engaging the wider community in their campaign. The station was undergoing a transformation, as plants and flowers set last year were coming into bloom and importantly two excursion trains had decided make Reddish South a pick up / drop off point.

Alan Jones added to this from the Denton perspective and gave notice of a community open day on 2nd July 2011 when they would be manning a stall in the foyer of Sainburys to raise awareness of the station group and recruit new members. The group had recently received the alarming news from Network Rail that the platforms were slowly collapsing onto the track and that this may bring about the stations demise. Assurances had been received from Andrew Gwynne, prior to the conference that this was not an option.

The summit next focused on Woodhead proper with a presentation from the Don Valley Railway and their proposals for the re-instating of a passenger commuter service on the stretch of line currently open for freight only, between Sheffield Victoria and Stocksbridge. Originally an 11 minute non-stop journey between Stocksbridge and Sheffield had been regarded as the most cost-effective, however the need to engage with all the communities along the line of route had brought a recognition that the DVR could not ignore the wishes of these communities to see their stations re-opened. DVR also stated its long term aims of pressing for re-opening of the route as far as Penistone and its support of the Woodhead group in their campaign to re-open the whole line.

A presentation on behalf of the Woodhead group was delivered by David Bryson and Colin Elliff. This firmly set the campaign in the context of the wider environmental agenda and the need for a contingency rail route between the country's 3rd and 4th largest cities. It was unacceptable that passengers were put on buses everytime the Hope Valley Line was closed for engineering work. The essential connectivity which the line could provide across the North was outlined. In engineering terms a re-opened Woodhead line offered the most cost-effective means of increasing rail capacity, as well as allowing for electrification, between East and West ports.

Jim Bamford delivered an extremely interesting presentation demonstrating how line speed improvements on the Robin Hood Line had vastly improved reliability and was prising open the door for a potential route extension to Ollerton. Jim emphasised the importance of best utilisation of diesel trains as few new units were likely to be built. In addition line speed improvements could reduce the number of units required to operate routes and consequently improve their cost efficiency. The need to have local authorities on board was emphasised and how holding regular conversations with network Rail could reduce scheme costs.

Angela Smith closed the conference commending all the groups for their presentations, but particularly pointing out the way in which Kim and Dot from Reddish South had illustrated the valuable roles that women could play in rail campaigns and better engagement with the local community. Angela restated her support for the DVR proposals and promised to work hard to see them come to fruition. She also supported the need to ensure that the rest of the Woodhead line was safeguarded for re-opening. However greater political pressure was required at this time as the dialogue between Network rail and National Grid over the situation at Woodhead had stopped and Angela stated there was a danger of the re-opening scheme being kicked into the long grass by Government, in view of the financial situation. National Grid had offered to sell the old tunnels for a nominal sum, however the costs of upkeep, reckoned to be in the region of £500k per annum, would not be taken on by the National Park and consequently the old tunnels could end up being sealed off. She urged all the groups to engage with the political process to ensure that the need for re-opening was given a far hearing within the DfT.

Friday, 20 May 2011

REMINDER - 26th MAY Local Railway Campaign Summit

Hi Folks,

Just a quick reminder that the Campaign to Re-open the Woodhead Line are organising a Rail Campaigner's Summit to take place 7pm to 9.30pm on Thursday 26th May 2011 at Guide Bridge Theatre.

The event features a vision for Woodhead presented by the Re-Open the Woodhead Line Campaign as well as a presentation from Jim Bamford - Rail Officer Notts County Council - on the success of the Robin Hood Line re-opening and the broader lessons for rail campaigns.

The summit will include representation from campaigns from Reddish North Station, Denton Station and Don Valley Railway as part of a 'market place' showcasing local rail campaigns, there'll also be '5 minutes of Fame' with feedback from local groups on successes, challenges and lessons learned.

David Bryson, Chair of Re-open the Woodhead Line campaign says:

We're really looking forward to a chance to meet and network with other local groups and demonstrate the passion and commitment shown by local campaigners.

With our campaign commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Woodhead route's closure we believe there's a strong, vibrant network of people working to revitalise and re-open local railways and stations.”

Entry is free, but there will be an opportunity to donate towards event costs, refreshments available, including a licensed bar.

The venue is very close to Guide Bridge Station, with regular services to Manchester and Glossop. Parking is also available.

For further information contact: Jonathan Atkinson, 0782 861 7933