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.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Fleetwood Weekly News: MP calls for 'train route reopen'

An article from today's Fleetwood Weekly News about the Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons yesterday:

An MP has urged ministers to reopen a train route linking Manchester to Sheffield to cope with more passengers and freight demands.

Angela Smith, Labour MP for Sheffield Hillsborough, claimed reopening the Woodhead line was the most "cost-effective option" of better trans-Pennine links.

She said reopening the line would be a "Crossrail for the North".

National Grid, however, plans to lay cables in the 1953 Woodhead tunnel, which Ms Smith said could put the scheme at risk.

In a Westminster Hall debate, Ms Smith called for a halt to the National Grid plans unless they could guarantee the cables could be moved into two smaller Victorian tunnels "as and when" the larger 1953 tunnel was required to be brought back into use.

Transport Minister Rosie Winterton assured Ms Smith: "National Grid's plans will not jeopardise the possibility that the Woodhead tunnel route might reopen to rail traffic at some future date."

But she said there were no immediate plans to reopen the route.

If there was a need to increase capacity on trans-Pennine rail routes, enhancements to the three existing lines would be considered first, she said.

"If an analysis of capacity on those routes concludes that an option of an additional route ought to be investigated, the Woodhead route for rail use can still be considered," she said.