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Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Glossop Advertiser: Fight stepped up to save rail tunnel

An article from today's Glossop Advertiser about our plans for a demonstration at Woodhead this weekend:

Folk are being invited to a weekend demonstration to try and save the Woodhead Tunnel which green campaigners say is under threat of ‘permanent extinction.’

National Grid is proposing to re-cable power lines through the ‘new’ Woodhead Tunnel — built in 1954 — which green campaigners fear will rule it out forever as a possible low carbon, trans-Pennine freight and passenger route. The Woodhead Manchester-Sheffield rail route closed in 1981.

Emma Lawrence, of the campaign group Save Swallows Wood — a local beautyspot claimed to be under threat from the proposed Mottram-Tintwistle bypass — said: “The government is demonstrating gross hypocrisy on the issue. While claiming to be committed to cutting carbon emissions, they have refused to halt National Grid’s work yet are putting millions into airport expansion.

“We’re calling for National Grid to find an alternative and are campaigning to re-open the Woodhead rail route. We all now understand the need to fight climate change, yet this move will see a cheap, simple solution irretrievably lost.”

She said the demonstration — complete with a samba band — arose out of a meeting held at Bradbury House in Glossop before Christmas, which pulled together the activities of different campaign groups.

“There will be prepared statements from groups like the Campaign for Better Transport and Freight on Rail. A lot of MPs, councillors and rail groups are also supporting the campaign.”

The demo is set to run from 1-3pm on Saturday at the western entrance of the tunnel, off the A628.

It is 6.3 miles from Hadfield to the tunnel along the Longdendale Trail, which is the old railway trackbed or folk can travel along the Woodhead Road to join the trail.

There are also trains to and from Hadfield to Manchester every 30 minutes and hourly buses.