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Friday, 25 February 2011

Nottingham Model Railway Exhibition 2011 - Quadruple treat for Woodhead enthusiasts

The Nottingham East Midlands Model Railway Exhibition 2011 is serving up a real treat for Woodhead enthusiasts. It will feature not one, not two, not even three but no less than 4 Woodhead themed layouts, all from the 1970's.

The Woodhead themed grouping features:-

Mini-MSW (Alan Whitehouse)
Deepcar (Nottingham MRS)
Netherwood Sidings (Graham Clark)
Gamesley Staff Halt (Gary Atkinson)

The event details are as follows:






OPENING HOURS are as follows:


SUNDAY 10.00AM TO 5.00PM

Saturday is the busiest day so they do recommend visiting on the Sunday if you have a choice.

The list of Traders and Specialist Manufacturers expected to be at the Exhibition is immense and very impressive. Too many to list so just follow the link above. Don't forget the club stand either...

The NMRS Club Sales Stand - WOW !
Lots of unbelievable Secondhand bargains on the club stand ! Locomotives ! + Coaches ! + Wagons ! + Bits ! + Parts ! + Components ! + Kits ! + Part-made Kits ! + Hardly-started Kits ! + Collectors Items ! + Bin Mens' Items ! + Magazines ! + More Magazines ! ..... And ..... yet More Magazines !

You can check the home page of the website here. A quick tip before browsing the website though.

Whilst the site itself is rich with links, most of the links to other pages within the site are right at the bottom of each page, so are easily missed. You really need to scroll right down to the bottom to be sure of not missing out on some of the pages.

Hope some of our readers will make the event and support the huge effort put in here.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

An Illustrated History of the Woodhead Line - Thursday 17th March 2011

The Re-open the Woodhead Line Campaign
are pleased to announce a very special event, 'An Illustrated History of the Woodhead Line' with John Quick a member of the Great Central Railway Society.

The event will take place at Glossop Labour Club in Chapel Street, Glossop, on Thursday 17th March (Think St Patrick's Day as an aide memoire) and commences 7.30pm sharp.

Accompanied by an in depth slide show John will guide us through the history of one of the most iconic railway routes in the country, from establishment and the construction of the famous tunnels, through its hey day and decline.

Once more,whilst you reach for your diary - Thursday 17th March 2011, at Glossop Labour Club - show starts: 7:30pm, ends: 10pm, with intermission, no entry charge but any donations on the night will be welcome .

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Woodhead Railway Line Books/DVD's

Hi Folks,

Just to bring your attention to a few Woodhead related items for sale on various sites that I have chanced upon, which may be of interest to some of you:-

I have copied the following review straight from the 'On Track' website but I'm sure they won't mind now that I've given them a mention and linked through to it in the header, besides they might make a few sales out of it.


The Woodhead Route - DVD or Video [AZ 156.CP113]

The Woodhead Route
The Woodhead Route
Suggested Retail Price:

The Pennines presented a formidable obstacle to potential railway builders hoping to link the Manchester area with Sheffield. Many schemes were drawn up but few trans-Pennine lines were built to link Lancashire and Yorkshire. So it is little wonder that enthusiasts fondly remember the former Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MSLR) route via the summit at Woodhead.

The railway changed its name when it built an extension as far as London, and it became the Great Central Railway (GCR). Later it became part of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER). The principal traffic was coal, and this remained true right up to closure in 1981.

Forty-one miles of line made up the Woodhead route. It was steam operated until the 1950s when electrification at 1500 volts DC was completed. The locomotives used on this route were unique in Britain, consisting of Bo-Bo electric locomotives of what was to become class 76 and the express passenger version, the Co-Co class 77.

Perhaps the best known part of the route is the famous Woodhead Tunnel. The original tunnel was two track, but capacity was doubled by the addition of a second two-track tunnel.

This archive film programme showcases trains on the route and is supplemented by footage from the 1970s and very early 1980s, when class 76 Bo-Bo electric locomotives based at Reddish depot were pre-eminent on freight trains.

Format: DVD or video
Film Type: Black & White and colour
Duration: 60 minutes

Reference:[AZ 156.CP113]

And here is the link to the On Track website from where I have shamelessly culled the review from.


Next up is a (used) book currently available on e-bay auction until 1st March, entitled "Main Line Across The Pennines". Here is a full description of the item, which currently is available for a measly 99p + £1.36p postage:-

Main Line Across The Pennines - Woodhead in the Shadows - A pictorial survey of the final years, by C.M.Corroy and A.R.Kaye, published by Lowlander Publications in the early 1980s.

Picture book with a small amount of text, describing the final years of the former Great Central Railway and London & North Eastern Railway Woodhead route between Manchester and Sheffield. Most pictures are of Class 76 electric locomotives, also featured are diesel locomotives and a few pictures of steam at work in the 1960s.

48 page booklet with card covers, A5 size.

Good condition.


Finally, e-bay again for a book from our well known friend Alan Whitehouse's 'Rails Through Barnsley'. I have to say that an opening ask bid of £24.99p for a used (but good condition) book seems like a lot but if the seller is correct, this book is "very scarce". So I suppose it's worth it if it's something that's missing from your collection and saves a lot of hassle finding it using the J.R. Hartley method!


Wharncliffe Publishing Limited 1988

160 pages of detailed text and prolific rare photographs of Barnsley and the surrounding area (including the Woodhead route).

This book is very scarce indeed and difficult to find

The book is in very good condition

Measures a large 12 x 10 in. 158 pages.


That's all for now. Bye folks.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Re-open Woodhead Line - Monthly Meeting Thursday 17th February

A reminder for all our members and supporters that Thursday 17th February is the third Thursday in the month, which means that the Re-open Woodhead Line group meeting takes place on this date.

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, 13 February 2011

30 Years and Counting - Re-open the Woodhead Line Calendar for 2011

Woodhead Station and tunnel

2011 marks 30 years since the cessation of the Woodhead line. To commemorate this anniversary the Re-open the Woodhead Line group have a bumper line up of activity planned - for the first time including collaborations with other rail campaigns on both sides of the Pennines.

Attend one of our planning meetings or come along to an event if you want to get involved with the campaign and help us achieve our aims.

7.30pm, Thursday 17th February 2011
Glossop Labour Club

7.30pm Thursday 17th March 2011
(followed by open campaign meeting), Glossop Labour Club

Thursday 17th April 2011
Spring Newsletter copy deadline

7.30pm, Thursday 21st April 2011
Glossop Labour Club

7.30pm, Thursday 26th May 2011
PUBLIC MEETING AT GUIDE BRIDGE with Friends of Reddish South Station (FoRSS) and Friends of Denton Station railway campaigns
Guide Bridge Theatre (tbc)

Thursday 9th June 2011
Summer newsletter copy deadline

June 2011
Presentation and OPEN CAMPAIGN MEETING with Don Valley Railway
in Penistone/Sheffield date and location tbc

Saturday 16th July 2011
Wreath laying at Manchester Piccadilly, folk train, cycle/walk to line's mid-point, all details tbc

Thursday 11th August 2011
Autumn Newsletter copy deadline

7.30pm, Thursday 18th August 2011
Glossop Labour Club

August/September 2011
Details TBC

7.30pm Thursday 15th September 2011

September 2011
Penistone Show stall

7.30pm Thursday 20th October 2011

Sat 22nd October 2011
Joint event with Don Valley Railway at the GCRS day in Penistone.
"The Woodhead Special" at St. John's Community Centre, Church Street, Penistone, South Yorkshire S36 6AR

10:30 - Doors open

11:00 - Talk by John Quick: "The Woodhead Line"

12:30 - Lunch break

14:00 - Talk by Stephen Gay: "Woodhead: The Lost Railway"

16:15 - Meeting ends

Thursday 10th November 2011
Winter Newsletter copy deadline

7.30pm Thursday 17th November 2011

December 2011

Closer links with Don Valley Railway

Sheffield Victoria where the Don Valley/Woodhead line terminates

Chris Bell
introduces the Don Valley Railway project and plans for closer ties with the Woodhead campaign.

The Don Valley Railway is a project, began back in September 2003, by Dave Goodison, to restore a passenger rail link along the section of the Woodhead Railway Line that runs between Sheffield and Deepcar and then on the into Stocksbridge via the route that stills serves the freight needs of Corus Steelworks there. We have created Don Valley Railway Ltd. as a not for profit company and are a registered charity.

Over the years we have looked into the possibility of introducing a commuter rail service as well as steam and heritage services onto the route.

Looking at the economics, the route appeared unlikely to meet the business case for the creation of National Rail franchised services. However we had got much local support, illustrated by a petition with 2000 signatures, and the freight line stretching towards Sheffield, which is generally only used once every night, seemed to offer a possible solution to the ever-increasing problems of commuting to Sheffield from the upper Don Valley.

So the project was set up to look at how we could make the railway happen.

We set up a fundraising function, and raised funds towards raising awareness and doing work and studies that would increase the capacity of the project. Previous efforts have included lottery bids and attempts to get funding from many public bodies and from the support of the heritage rail industry.

In late 2009, after many varied efforts to take the project forward, and discussions with Sheffield City Council and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive we commissioned Ove Arup and Partners Ltd to produce an engineering feasibility study to evaluate the potential for operating a reliable commuter rail service along the route between Sheffield and Stocksbridge which it is hoped will contribute to creating a business case for the re-opening of passenger services on the rail link.

Arup recommended that the most cost effective option is a simple shuttle between a station close to the site of the former Sheffield Victoria and Deepcar. This could operate utilising a single train vehicle offering 2 services in each direction per hour basis with no intermediate stops,. Diesel-powered rolling stock is seen as the most suitable for the operation of the line.

This option is also potentially the easiest to get into operation. Enhancements could be made in the future as funds allow to extend into the centre of Stocksbridge, additional stations at Oughtibridge and Wadsley Bridge, and extensions towards Penistone

A previous study put the cost of works required to cost £18million. Arup’s study found that that the permanent way was in very good condition and would not require a great deal of work to return the line to passenger operation. Armed with the study of the track, Arup now forecast the cost will be £4million.

At our meeting on 24th January 2011 we received unanimous support from our members to join forces in some way with the Re-Open Woodhead Campaign, after initial talks.

As a campaign you seek to open the whole route, we support you in that aim. After we’ve got passenger trains operating to Stocksbridge, it is our intention to keep going to Penistone, Woodhead and eventually Manchester.

Don Valley is a project, whereas Re-Open Woodhead is a campaign. We approach our mutual aim in different ways and as organizations we have different skills. Don Valley has set about doing what we can to get things done, where Re-Open Woodhead has succeeded at raising awareness. Don Valley could benefit from your publicity skills, and we hope your campaign could benefit from our attempt to open our bit of the route. We hope there is some synergy between the two groups.

As an initial collaboration, we are going to support yourselves in your commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the removal of the track over Woodhead this summer, and look forward to working with you successfully in the future.

We are fortunate that the landlord of our current home for meetings, the Harlequin Inn, in Sheffield, which incidentally was originally called the Manchester Railway Tavern after our railway, also runs a micro brewery. He has told me that he will produce a special ale to commemorate the 30th anniverary.

So I hope we can work together.

Chris Bell – Don Valley Railway

Woodhead - A Life Changing Encounter

David Shaw, committee member of the Woodhead Campaign, explains his personal connection to the campaign...

I still clearly remember my first visit to Woodhead. It was on my 19th birthday in June '84 and I'd persuaded a good friend, whose caravan I was sharing at Hope, to drive me over to Glossop and out along the Woodhead Road into what, for me, was an unknown part of the Peak District National Park.

The countryside seemed to become more bleak with each turn in the road and when we reached the 'Devil's Elbow' we really wondered what we had let ourselves in for. This was a trip I'd been wanting to make for a number of years, ever since learning of the existance of the Woodhead route - Britain's First All-Electric Mainline - and it's sad demise in July 1981. To me the closure appeared to represent the final step in the relentless destruction of the former Great Central Mainline between Manchester London Road (now Piccadilly) and London Marylebone by the London Midland region of BR. The culmination of a policy towards the former Great Central lines which had also resulted in the closure of Nottingham's centrally located Victoria Station in September 1967 - a grand station still missed by many.

Of course I was very nearly proved wrong on this point when in January 1986 BR issued a proposal to close Marylebone and divert services into Paddington or Baker Street. Happily the fortunes of the GC mainline out of Marylebone were transformed due to the protests of well-heeled commuters in The Chilterns and the Home Counties and growth in Britain's ecomony, which meant traffic into London was no longer shrinking, but growing! This made the closure of Marylebone untenable as there was not sufficient capacity on other lines to absorb the anticipated growth.

In my own growing up I had come to appreciate walking in the southern area of the Peak District National Park with its easy access to Edale, via the Hope Valley Line and Matlock and Buxton via the branches, however the moors of Bleaklow and Saddleworth, along with the Woodhead pass were foreign parts to me.

As we continued our journey that day along the Woodhead Road we soon passed The Old House, at that time a fairly expensive restaurant with views across Rhodeswood and Valehouse reservoirs. Here we were later to enjoy drinks and a meal. Soon after this we had our first encounter with the line and I immediately recognised the location as Torside Crossing, from the many pictures I had seen in books. The barriers had already been removed, presumably for re-use elsewhere on BR, but the single track was still in place continuously in both directions. I'm not sure my mate knew where I was taking him at this point, but I had the map and knew exactly where we were going - we joined the A628 and headed for Woodhead Station!

I'm not sure what I expected to find at Woodhead that day. What I couldn't have anticipated was the impact that seeing the remains of this mainline had on me. Here was a virtually brand new railway tunnel lying dormant, built at the cost of £4.3m, not to mention the lives of six men. Looking the other way down the valley I could see the lines of relatively new continuous welded rail stretching towards Hadfield and Manchester. Conversely most of the Hope Valley line still comprised of old jointed track at this time!

In addition, I'd already read media speculation that the costs of converting the DC equipment over Woodhead had been inflated to improve the business case for closing the line and this seemed to be bore out by the work that had recently taken place to upgrade the remaining Hadfield and Glossop lines to AC current. The scene at Woodhead that day forcefully reminded me of everything that I saw as being wrong with British transport planning, the waste of good resources, the lack of robust contingency planning, the short-sightedness of disposing of transport corridors (rather than mothballing for future use) and the lack of community engagement.

For myself, I determined that day to make a difference and play my part in fighting future closures and promoting rail re-openings. In January 1985 I joined the campaign to fight the closure of the Settle to Carlisle railway line by BR and what a fight that would prove to be! But that's another story...

News from other lines...

The Friends of Reddish South Station (FoRSS) and the Friends of Denton Station have recently been successful in getting endorsement for their campaign to re-instate a regular service from Reddish South and Denton stations (and Guide Bridge?) into Manchester Victoria. The national rail campaigning organisation, Railfuture and Manchester Travelwatch have both commented supporting these proposals in response to the recent Network Rail Northern Route Utilisation Strategy. Significantly these groups claim that the diversion of existing services could be carried out in a short timescale and at low cost to provide the service.

FoRSS have now formally adopted their station and the clearing and planting that took place around the station area last year is now begining to produce a much improved environment. A community art project is due to swing into action later in the spring, producing some temporary artwork for the station and more importantly improving community engagement.

In another coup FoRSS have persuaded the operator of a charter train from Chester to Newcastle to stop to pick up and set down passengers at Reddish South on May 7th. This will be the first time fare paying passengers have been able to catch a train from and to Reddish South on the same day since 1991!

See: for more details.

The next folk train event is due to take place on Good Friday (22nd April) when those journeying on the train from Stockport to Stalybridge will be joined by folk musicians. The intention being, as usual on these occasions, to run the conductor off his feet - a railway form of Supermarket Dash as he tries to collect as many fares as possible in 20-odd minutes from two full carriages of passengers joining from the unstaffed stations of Reddish South and Denton! A hearty breakfast at Stalybridge Station Buffet will follow. Anyone is free to join in, just catch the train on the day!

We hope to have a presentation from FoRSS at one of our meetings later this year, so watch this space.

STOP PRESS: Looks like pressure from Andrew Gwynne has paid off and Northern Rail are to repair the platform at Denton. I guess that their responsibilities in regards to public safety don't really leave them any options, but nevertheless this is good news and maybe hints at the fact that a more regular service may not be too far away.

Write to us - Woodhead letters page

Here's a selection of recent letters to the campaign, please feel free to reply to them or send in one of your own:

An Illustrated History of the Woodhead Route



Just subscribed to your newsletter and support you 100% on the plan to reopen the tunnel.

Many years ago, I walked through tunnel 3 and I can tell you it’s a once in a lifetime experience! Absolutely pitch black, wet and the smell of damp will stay in my nostrils for ever!

I see no reason why this trans Pennine route can’t be reopened and electrified at the standard 25kv AC. However, thought should be given as to where the line will go from there! Sheffield Victoria station has been demolished and there is no access from this line to Sheffield Midland station. The line would have to be electrified as tunnel 3 was never designed for diesel traction so it only has one ventilation shaft.

I would very much like to hear what the master plan is!

BTW, someone asked how much National Grid paid for tunnel 3. Apparently it was bought in a British Rail Property Board sale for £1! If only I’d known!

Good luck

Mike Paull




I am just writing to suggest that your recent booklist of reading into the Woodhead Line has missed off a useful recent work - Alan Whitehouse's own work, no less:

"An Illustrated History of the Woodhead Route"
ISBN 978-0-86093-635-0
Published by Ian Allan publishing.

It even includes the large set of trackplans and signaling diagrams that are available at this webpage:

God....This makes me a train nerd. When's the next meeting?

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Mooney, Holmfirth.


Hi Guys,

Fantastic website, It is so good to know we have people out there doing everything and more to have this beautiful route back alive again, I noticed the National Grid are in the "Current" process of transferring cables from the 2 single tunnels to the 1954 tunnel. Does this mean that any hope we have of having the route reopened mean it is now not viable because of the "National Grid's current work development?

I did see an interview with the Ruth Kelly from 2 years ago saying why the route should be reopened and what the massive benefits are. Amongst the things that have been done from our side as the public, has anyone come up with more options and ways to which we can tackle this? It does upset you when you go and look at the tunnels and you stand there wondering why on earth the powers that b back then did what they did.

Understandably the country is making cuts to save money, however they must see what a huge benefit Woodhead is work with"US" the peole who want the route back open. I worked for Transpennine Express trains and the amount of times and the severity of problems the Sheffield/Dore line has had with landslides has been untrue again this is something that could be put forward to the Goverment/DFT to keep on pushing them.

Keep up the Excellent Work,

Kind Regards,

Chris Davies

Woodhead links - photos - footage

Photos from Woodhead
For anyone looking for quality photos of the Woodhead route, should take a look at:

Here are a couple of Woodhead searches on the site:

and some for Dunford:


Electrics Across the Pennines: Woodhead Route
A detailed and authoritative exploration of the Woodhead route, starting in the 1950s, and ending with the last trains to use the line. Sheffield Victoria, Penistone and the line around Woodhead is shown in detail, plus the steep climb from Wath and the Manchester suburban services to Hadfield

We see the EM1s and EM2s hard at work on the Manchester to Victoria Main Line. Passenger and freight traffic during the 1960s featuring both electric and diesel traction. The last years of electric operations over the route from Wath and Sheffield to Guide Bridge and Manchester. In addition we include 'before and after' scenes to complete a portrait of a unique railway.
Produced by - Transport Video Publishing, Running time - 65 Minutes DVD only
Buy it on ebay:

Online footage
Three fantastic video clips from the BBC in black and white from the 1960’s, the first showing footage from the driver’s cab going through both ends of the tunnel. Some readers may be familiar with these clips but what the hell, these are priceless and worth seeing again and again. Link:

In the Tunnel - Engines Must Not Enter the Potato Siding (1969/b&w/sound)
Take a journey from Sheffield to Manchester and find out what it was like to go through the Woodhead Tunnel. Sometimes drivers had to crouch down to avoid the fumes and get breathable air. (3 minutes 32 seconds ©BBC)

Signal Man - Engines Must Not Enter the Potato Siding (1969/b&w/sound)
Go inside the signal box with signalman Michael Gatonby and find out about one of the loneliest and busiest jobs on the railway line. (2 minutes 1 second ©BBC)

Passenger Guard - Engines Must Not Enter the Potato Siding (1969/b&w/sound)
The passenger guard waves off a train on the Manchester-Sheffield line. Hear the passenger guard talking about his job and the camaraderie of working on the railways. (3 minutes 23 seconds ©BBC)

A South Yorkshire orientated site with many of the stations relevant to the Woodhead line:

Woodhead Calendars
Who’d a thowt it – you can still buy Woodhead calendars in 2011, yes it’s true:

Actually it may be that these are sold out now but something to bear in mind when searching for the ideal Xmas present for the railway enthusiast in your life for 2012!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Woodhead Air Shafts

Welcome back everyone and for this particular post we would like a little help and assistance.

On 23rd January, four members of the Reopen The Woodhead Line group visited Longside Edge (CLICK ON MAP BELOW TO ENLARGE) for a leisurely stroll on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and to take some photos of the tunnel Air Shafts. The area is roughly north east of the Woodhead tunnel or if you were stood before the tunnel head itself and imagine a clockface, then you would head off over the moors above at around 2.00 o'clock, if that makes sense.

The Air Shaft adjacent to the circle on the map can be accessed from below Saltersbrook Bridge, where we pulled up in the layby and walked up an official trail. It is also accessible by getting on the same trail at Windle Edge. Exactly where you turn left for Dunford, the trail cuts across the road.

In other words, if you were coming from the Dunford road, you would go right over the A628 and continue. A couple of miles of trail later you cross the road again about a mile beneath Saltersbrook Bridge and that is roughly where the layby that we parked up in, lies. The photo below gives some perspective of the position. The stretch of road that is clearly visible is the A628 heading off to the Flouch just after the Dunford turn off.

On our way up to this air shaft we came across two concrete markers about three feet tall (see picture) and wondered what they might be. The map clearly does indicate a Pillar, indeed there are many pillars along the line of the tunnel.

However, the fact that the pillar in the photo appears to be made of concrete led us to believe it is quite a recent (ie: likely to be later than 1954) structure, which in turn made us think they were not anything to do with the tunnels, even though they were directly above them. Again for perspective, note that the reservoir in the background is Woodhead, so you are looking down through the Longdendale valley from this vantage point.

It has been suggested to me that these were the work of the Highways Agency (or their forerunners in the 1980's). Apparently it is said that they marked out the whole route with the intention of putting a motorway through the National Park and that there is another one behind the Railway Cottages in Crowden.

We cannot verify what the origin of this particular concrete post is (we also found another one a short walk later, near some spoil from tunnel workings, pictured below)

So we ask you our readers if you can shed any light on the matter for us?. It's also been suggested that the circular piece of metal on the top of the structure,shown in the photo below, is for holding a theodolite in place, which seems quite plausible as we couldn't think of any other reason for its usage.

If you have any knowledge of what to us are mysterious concrete blocks, then please enter a comment beneath this post (if it works!) or alternatively you can always:-

e-mail us

Bye for now.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Woodhead Line footage online

Thanks to Arlen Bone for bringing these fantastic videos to our attention. Get in touch if you know of more footage out there we can link to.

As well as a shot of a train on the Wicker arches, the film includes colour footage of EM1 class loco number 26020 (the same one that is preserved in York Museum) at the head of a passenger train at Sheffield Victoria. Also briefly seen is a shot of Thurgoland Tunnel -seen out of the cab of an electric loco.

'Work In Progress' was made by British Transport Films while the number 3 tunnel was under construction. 'Work in Progress' features Woodhead from 02:08 to 05:36 The film shows shots of a pre-electrification Dunford Bridge with steam locomotive entering and leaving the old Victorian tunnels. The film then shows footage of the construction of number 3 tunnel, both at Dunford Bridge and at Woodhead.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Woodhead Railway Line - Useful Links & Resources (1) - Great Central Railway Society

Hi Readers and Welcome Back,

After a brief interlude you will be pleased to learn that there will be quite a series of posts over the next few weeks.

The title of this particular post 'Woodhead Railway Line - Useful Links & Resources (1) - Great Central Railway Society' is the first of many websites I will be exploring and encouraging our readers to check out.

Some will be familiar (but perhaps out of sight out of mind) others less so.

Whilst always being mindful that our remit is concerned with the future of the Woodhead RailwayLine rather the past, we are equally aware that it is important to be knowledgeable about the history of the line, in order to understand how we have arrived at the present. That in turn helps inform us on how to proceed in the future.

With that in mind I introduce you to the first in the series, which is the site of the Great Central Railway Society

Whilst the site covers what it says on the tin and therefore has a remit much wider than merely Woodhead, there is a great bibligraphy which you can check out here:

Great Central Railway Society - Bibliography

This list was started by David Arnold, who asked for suggestions on the Great Central Railway Society forum on Yahoo.

Books are listed in categories but in some cases this can be rather arbitrary. Magazine articles are listed by publication and then in date order.

To save you the hassle, I have culled the specifically Woodhead related books and articles and listed them below but please find time to visit the website for yourselves. There is quite a nice photo gallery and a programme of events for 2011, which may be of interest.



The Woodhead route
The First Railway Between Manchester and Sheffield, George Dow, LNER 1945.
The Third Woodhead Tunnel, George Dow, BR (London Midland Region) 1954.
This was the Woodhead Route, S.R. Batty, Ian Allan 1981, ISBN 0911011400.
Main Line Across the Pennines: Woodhead in the Shadows, C.M. Corroy & A.R. Kay, Lowlander Publications 1981(?), ISBN 0946930031.
Railroaded! Battle for Woodhead Pass, Simon Bain, Faber & Faber 1986.
The Sheffield, Ashton under Lyne and Manchester Railway - The Woodhead Line, Martin Bairstow, Martin Bairstow 1986, ISBN 0951030248.
Railway World Special: The Woodhead Route, Stephen R. Batty, Ian Allan 1986, ISBN 0711016194.
Scenes from the Past: 29 - Woodhead (Part One), E.M. Johnson, Foxline Publishing 1996 (rpt 2006), ISBN 1870119436.
Scenes from the Past: 29 - Woodhead (Part Two), E.M. Johnson, Foxline Publishing 1998(?), ISBN 1870119525.
Woodhead: The Lost Railway, Stephen Gay, Hallamshire Press 1999, ISBN 1874718431.
Scenes from the Past: 29 - Woodhead (Part Three), E.M. Johnson, Foxline Publishing 2001(?), ISBN 870119819/827.
Wartime Woodhead, Kenneth Oldham, Irwell Press 2004, ISBN 1903266440.

Magazine articles and magazine-style publications

Woodhead, Alan Earnshaw, vol.5 no.2 (March-April 1991).
Woodhead Part 2, Alan Earnshaw , vol.5 no.3 (May-June 1991).
The Woodhead Electrics (photo feature, Alan Earnshaw, vol.10 no.9 (Sept 1996).
The Manchester, Sheffield and Wath Electrification - Part Two, Roy G. Chapman, vol.12 no.5 (May 1998).
Woodhead - The Abandoned Railway, Alan Earnshaw, vol.12 no.7 (July 1998).
Annesley to East Leake - Part One, Robert Emblin, vol.12 no.8 (Aug 1998).
Woodhead Tunnels Today, Geoff Brown, vol.12 no.9 (Sept 1998).
British Railways Illustrated

Moving the Coal to Manchester (Wath and Mottram yards), Ron Fareham, vol.7 no.8 (May 1998).
Britain's New Railway - Steam to Electric Traction from Manchester to Woodhead - Part 8: Hyde to Newton, E.M.Johnson, vol.19 no.12 (Sept 2010).

The Journal of the Railway and Canal Historical Society

Woodhead Wonders
, John Huxley, vol.31 no.10 (Nov 1995).

Railway World

Murder in the Pennines (building of the Woodhead tunnels), Josephine Rhodes, vol.31 no.356 (Jan 1970).
Railways Illustrated

Working the Woodhead, Stephen Cornish, (May 2010).

Woodhead Wonders, John Huxley, vol.31 no.10 (Nov 1995).


I may have missed one or two along the way but quite a useful and extensive list, I think you will agree. If you have any suggestions of your own to add to the list then please use the comment box below this post to contact us or e-mail us at:

e-mail us

You can find a full list of links from Re-open the Woodhead Line to the right hand side of the blog, just below Followers and Facebook Share, to which the Great Central Railway Society bibliography has just been added. Back with you soon.