Join our Re-open the Woodhead Line for just £10 a year (£5 concessions) to support our work and have a say in how our group works.

Subscribe here!

We need your support.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Sheffield Star: MP's call for rail link tunnel vision (Richard Marsden)

A story from today's Sheffield Star about the Sheffield MP Angela Smith's plans to raise the profile of the campaign, by Richard Marsden:

Hillsborough MP Angela Smith has joined the battle to keep Woodhead Tunnel for improved rail services between South Yorkshire and Manchester.

The Labour politician and 60 other MPs are lobbying the Government to force owner National Grid to change its mind over plans to lay cables through the main tunnel, built in 1953.

Currently, the cables are in two neighbouring Victorian tunnels but these are deteriorating and becoming expensive to maintain.

However, Ms Smith believes it would be wrong to use the 1953 tunnel for electricity cables.

She said: "A new cross-Pennine route for transport is still part of statutory plans and is suggested in the Government's White Paper, Delivering a Sustainable Railway. The only suitable route is the 1953 tunnel."

Ms Smith said she has written to both the Secretary of State for Transport Ruth Kelly MP, and National Grid, asking for the cable plans to be put on hold until an independent assessment of the future use of the tunnel can be made.

She is also calling for a full debate on the future of the tunnel in parliament.