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Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Hi Readers,

As an addendum to a previous post from 24rth September 2010 entitled AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY of the WOODHEAD ROUTE I have come across a link via Martin Lewis's website (of Money Saving Expert fame) , of a free to enter competition to win one of six books:

If you cut and paste the above link into your browser you will see details of how to enter the competition but don't bother because I've copied and pasted it below, where you will also find a suggested answer:


E: 31/10 Woodhead (railway) book

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From Railways Illustrated magazine November 2010

Six copies of An Illustrated History of the Woodhead Line to give away. Simply answer this question:

How many Class 76s were converted to air-brake only operation.
I believe the answer is 9 but I am open to contradiction.

HOW TO ENTER: Visit and complete the entry form with competition name (Woodhead), your answer and full contact details. Or, send your answer, subscriber number (if applicable), and full contact details on a postcard to

Woodhead book Competition,
Magazine Marketing Dept,
Ian Allan Publishing, Riverdene Business Park,
Molesey Road,
KT12 4RG.


Good luck with your entry. For anyone who has read the book already and would like to send us a review, please feel free and we'll be glad to publish.

Saturday, 23 October 2010


Just a few lines to let our readers, subscribers and members know that the Re-open the Woodhead Line group intend to formally reply to the DfT response to our open letter

The DfT response
was posted on this blog on the 9th October and the full text can be seen by following the above link.

We will of course publish our full response in due course. In the meanwhile here are a few bullet points to shoot across the bows of the Secretary of State.

  • The U.K. is legally committed to an 80% cut in CO2 emissions by 2050
  • 26% of U.K. emissions are emitted from transport
  • Of the three means by which such radical cuts can be effected (behavioural, technological and modal) modal shift ie: transferring traffic to the most energy efficient form of transport, is the one that the DfT has most control of.
  • As road traffic is responsible for 92% of total transport emissions, a third of all road journey miles need transferring to rail
  • Such a shift will quadruple existing rail traffic levels
  • There is therefore an urgent need to open up new rail routes to parallel existing principal corridors
Consequently, Woodhead offers the only realistic chance of creating a new Transpennine corridor to parallel the existing routes from Manchester to Leeds and Sheffield, given that on line 4-tracking is not practicable for either Diggle, Calder Valley or Hope Valley routes.

We therefore believe that the restoration of the Woodhead route is essential.

It is the only practicable option for achieving a step change in Transpennine connectivity and of guaranteeing an effective transport system for the North, given the expectation of an oil depleted future and a genuine attempt to cut CO2 emissions.

As such we regard the DfT do-nothing policy as unfit for purpose when radical action is needed today.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Re-open the Woodhead Line monthly meeting - Thursday 21st October 2010

A late reminder that today is the third Thursday in the month, 21/10/2010 which means that the Re-open Woodhead Line group meeting takes place this evening.

The venue is as per usual - the Labour Club in Chapel Street, Glossop, starting at 7.30 p.m.

The Labour Club, despite its name is politically unaffiliated.


Sunday, 17 October 2010


A local treat for steam railway enthusiasts is served up by the Railway Touring Company on Sunday 7th November as the Tin Bath (a reference to a famous Summer Wine episode) leaves Manchester Piccadilly to take in the railways of the South Pennines and the Peak District.

The Tin Bath route encompasses Derbyshire, Lancashire and South Yorkshire visiting some rarely used routes for steam along the way.
I have lifted the approximate timings from the Railway Touring Company site and posted below.

Approximate Timings

Station Depart Return
Manchester Piccadilly 10:15 17:55
Romily 10:45 -------
Stockport ------- 18:15
Hathersage 11:25 -------
Sheffield 12:50 -------
Huddersfield 15:00 -------
Bolton 17:30 -------

Sure this is a lazy day trip with a difference and speed is definitately not of the essence.

Nevertheless its meandering course does serve as a reminder to those of us who want to see the Woodhead line re-opened, of the excessive time that it takes passengers along the route of the Manchester-Sheffield-Wath route to travel between two of Britain's major cities or between towns on the route.

Anyone wanting to travel between Glossop and Penistone, for instance, a journey of some 20 miles and which 50 years ago was measured in minutes on a railway timetable, would now be quicker to undertake by bicycle, or perhaps even on foot in this instance!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Is re-opening Stocksbridge line feasible?


Some of you will have missed this article, appearing as it did during the holiday season, so it is reprinted above. It was run by RAIL magazine
( Issue 650, 11 to 24 August 2010, Page 20) and is entitled ' Stocksbridge re-opening feasible? '.

Whilst the article itself is self explanatory, the interest and connection for supporters and followers of Re-open the Woodhead Line, is of course, that this is actually a part of the former Woodhead route, serving Sheffield Victoria.

For those not familiar with the entirety of the route between Manchester and Sheffield , there is a useful topographical map on Wikipedia's Woodhead Line page.

According to their own website, The Don Valley Railway Project, (who are the movers behind the scheme) it all started in September 2003 through the vision of Stocksbridge man, Mr David Goodison. They quickly gained support and involvement from individuals, local authorities, community groups, businesses and their local MP.

If only such support and vision was forthcoming from this side of the Pennines, where all the local authorities and politicians want to build are roads and supermarkets!!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

DEPARTMENT for TRANSPORT Replies To the Chair of Re-open the Woodhead Line

Readers of this blog may recall that back in July, having given the new government some time to settle in, our Chairman sent an open letter to the Rt. Hon Philip Hammond, the Secretary of State for Transport, asking that his government "show some foresight and safeguard this route and commit it for future reopening & development".

I am pleased to say that we received a reply to the letter a few weeks ago (from Brian Welch, the Cities and Regions Policy Manager) and having discussed it in the branch meeting, now feel ready for it to appear to a wider audience for general consumption and comment.

For some it is just the usual standard letter that might have been received in the 1980's, for others despite its apparent negativity on initial reading, it still leaves open some prospect for future re-opening. Over to you. Please feel free to comment using the comment box at the foot of the post.

Please note that after viewing the letter you will need to hit the back button to get back to the site as I haven't found a way to open up this particular document in a new window yet.



Monday, 4 October 2010


And now for something completely different...

For those of you who live within commuting distance of Glossop and have a penchant for railway knowledge (or perhaps you know more than the tutor and want a debate!) then here is news of an upcoming course being run by the Glossop Guild, which is entitled:


Railways across the Pennines/ Ian Moss, B.Sc., M.Sc.

10 Thursdays: 7, 14, 21, 28 October; 4, 11, 18, 25 November; 2, 9 December; 19.30 - 21.30h
Bradbury Community House, Market Street, Glossop
Fee £60 (Members £55)

At least twelve railways crossed the Pennine watershed- the first opened in 1830; the last in 1893 and more then half of them are still open. Because of the nature of the terrain and because of the likelihood that they would prosper (other areas of equally difficult relief chose to climb rather than embark on earthworks) they provide examples of interesting engineering including six of the country’s longest tunnels.

The course will look at all the lines but will give preference to the oldest (the Cromford & High Peak), the lines of the Midland Railway through the Peak, that which passed near Glossop on its way over Woodhead and the Lancashire & Yorkshire Route from Manchester to Leeds. Each line had a well defined purpose and most of those we consider adequately fulfilled it –and in our own time, with a shift of emphasis those open still do.


Oddly enough the Guild meetings take place on the same evening as our own Re-open the Woodhead Line do (except ours are only on the 3rd Thursday of each month) and uncannily they meet at Bradbury House which is only yards away from the Glossop Labour Club, which is our current venue!

So if you fancy joining the course give our group a mention and come and have a drink with us afterwards. Better still why not join us if you're not already a member?

Apologies to the Glossop Guild for stealing the image from your website, as well as the text but we are giving you a plug so it seems fair enough. We're all on the same train.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

British Transport Film - Electrification of the Woodhead Route

Another time sensitive post folks and one for the historians rather than the futurists.

Just thought I'd mention that there's a rare chance for one of our members/supporters/followers to acquire a VHS tape from 1991 that's currently auctioning on e-bay.

The subject matter is the era of British Railways' modernisation plan
and our interest lies in the first of the three short films, which is concerned with the electrification of the Woodhead Route between Manchester and Sheffield.

No it's not mine by the way, nor do I know who the vendor is but what I can tell you is that it was originally released by Railfilms who are also the people behind The Woodhead Route Cab Ride video

The VHS tape consists of three mini films which together are 25 minutes in length and all are in black and white. The remaining info that I can give you is lifted from the item description as follows:

The first film on the tape is 'Signpost', a 1955 British Transport Films production concerned with the electrification of the Woodhead Route between Manchester and Sheffield, one of the first lines to be electrified using overhead wires and seen at the time as a blueprint for the future of Britain's rail network (although the route itself, like so many others, was eventually closed).

The film is only five minutes in length largely because it was intended to be shown on BBC Television on the night the original Modernisation Plan was debated in Parliament - the time slot offered was reduced in length and so the film had to be recut from the original 'Electrification: Manchester - Sheffield'.

Happy bidding and may the most genuinely interested person win rather than the richest. If you are going in with a serious bid then I think you'll need to go a lot higher than the current meagre and measly offer of 99 pence !!!