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Thursday, 17 January 2008

Look Local: Plea for Woodhead rail link

An article from today's 'Look Local' about the January 12th demonstration at Woodhead:

Green Stocksbridge Town Councillor Dan Lyons joined a protest last Saturday against plans to route power cables through the Woodhead tunnel instead of reopening it as a railway line.

Around a hundred demonstrators gathered at the tunnel in the Peak District National Park to condemn National Grid’s plans, which would mean using the main tunnel to route power cables between South Yorkshire and Manchester.

Transport chiefs want to double rail services between Sheffield and Manchester in the next 15 years and campaigners argue that the railway line could be reopened to provide a low-carbon transport link across the Pennines.

Councillor Lyons commented: “Given the imperative of tackling climate change, it is unbelievable that the Government is failing to keep the Woodhead rail tunnel option open, never mind organising its re-opening.

“The Woodhead rail tunnel provides a cheaper and more sustainable alternative to the proposed A628 Mottram-Tintwistle bypass, which will cause major environmental and road safety problems in Stocksbridge and South Yorkshire generally.”

Currently, the National Grid runs power cables through the two Victorian tunnels at Woodhead.

But these are starting to collapse, prompting plans to move them to the neighbouring Woodhead Tunnel.

Now campaigners are putting pressure on both the National Grid and the Government to consider opening the tunnel for future rail use.

The Woodhead tunnel was completed just after World War Two. The last passenger train ran through the new tunnel in 1971.

A spokesperson for the Government could not be contacted.