The Woodhead Route
In examining the history of Britain's railways, there are a number of lines that have closed - such as the Waverley route and the Somerset & Dorset - that generate an interest and appeal well beyond the geographical area that they served. One of these routes is undoubtedly the Woodhead route, one of the earliest of the trans-Pennine railways to be built and one that was to be amongst the first main lines to be electrified and one of the most significant closures of the 1980s. The electrification of the route along with the construction of a new Woodhead Tunnel was first proposed by the LNER but work was not completed until 1954; two new classes of 1500v dc locomotive were built - one primarily for passenger traffic and one for the heavy freight, primarily coal, that was the line's principal traffic. The former were withdrawn when passenger services over the through route were withdrawn and enjoyed a second career running on Dutch railways. The freight-only line continued to operate until the early 1980s when it became a victim of route rationalisation as the coal traffic gradually declined. The section of line from Manchester to Dinting and Glossop remains open, now converted to 25kV, whilst south of Penistone the route remains to serve freight terminals at Sheepsbridge and Deepcar. With the remaining trans-Pennine route now running to almost full capacity, there have been calls for the Woodhead route to be reopened; these calls, however, have been thwarted by the recent decision to use the 1954 tunnels as part of the upgraded National Grid.
Hardback, 96 pages, colour photographs - mainly from the electric era, maps
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