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Woodhead Midland connectivity

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As well as improving Manchester-to-Sheffield connectivity, reactivation of the Woodhead line would allow through passenger trains between Liverpool, Manchester, and the East Midlands. The cost would be a tiny fraction of the sum required for the ‘new Pennine tunnel’ proposed in One North.

Options for connecting a reactivated Woodhead line

Options for connecting a reactivated Woodhead line

A restored Woodhead route would be useful year-round, as a freight conduit into the Midland Main Line and ‘ECML2’ (the GNGE Joint line).

One North suggested its multi-billion pound rail tunnel could act as a trans-Pennine lorry ferry in the event of bad weather ‘affecting’ the M62 motorway. Of course, when bad weather wasn’t affecting the M62 — or when it was also affecting the approach roads to the lorry ferry terminals — the facility would be pretty much useless.

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Written by beleben

August 12, 2014 at 9:42 am

Posted in Planning, Railways

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4 Responses

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  1. The Woodhead Tunnels are not able to be reopened because the National Grid uses the best ones for its electricity cables and their conversion would be too costly to undo. The only realistic option is to build an entirely new tunnel to replace it, and a tunnel to be used by Manchester-Hadfield commuter trains extended to Sheffield (following the Airdrie-Bathgate template) would cost the same per kilometre as a tunnel built for high speed trains. In this country if you’re building much more than a simple chord or a reopening it’s not really worth it unless it enables something radically better than the status quo.

    CautiousObserver

    August 15, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    • The Woodhead Tunnels are not able to be reopened because the National Grid uses the best ones for its electricity cables and their conversion would be too costly to undo.

      No information appears to be available on the cost of (a) removing National Grid cables from the 1953 tunnel, (b) relocating the cables back to the older tunnels, (c) digging a new tunnel for electric cables, or (d) adopting an alternative Grid configuration in which those cables aren’t necessary. But it seems a very safe assumption that building an entirely new trans-Pennine railway tunnel would be vastly more expensive than any of those.

      beleben

      August 15, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      • However, the justification for the National Grid using the 1953 tunnel is that the older Victorian tunnels are no longer fit for purpose. Displacing the National Grid from the 1953 tunnel would require you to build another, completely new tunnel for them and to spend all the money refitting it back to support a modern railway. Since you need to build a new tunnel, you may as well build it for rail traffic from the start and leave the NG entirely undisturbed. If you are building a new rail tunnel then it’s just a question where it would be best off being built – following the Woodhead alignment may not give the best bang for the inevitable buck.

        CautiousObserver

        August 19, 2014 at 10:27 pm

      • However, the justification for the National Grid using the 1953 tunnel is that the older Victorian tunnels are no longer fit for purpose.

        Your opinion.

        There’s no independent or verifiable information on the state of the tunnels.

        Displacing the National Grid from the 1953 tunnel would require you to build another, completely new tunnel for them and to spend all the money refitting it back to support a modern railway.

        I think both sides of the Pennines had electricity before any Grid cables were run through any Woodhead tunnel. How was that possible? The world won’t stop turning if National Grid doesn’t run some wires through an old railway tunnel. Other cheaper, and better, options are likely to be available.

        Since you need to build a new tunnel

        You’re back on the opinion again. There’s no evidence you “need” to build a new tunnel.

        beleben

        August 19, 2014 at 10:41 pm


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