SE1502 : Down freight passing Dunford Bridge station just before opening of New Woodhead Tunnel

taken 70 years ago, near to Dunford Bridge, Barnsley, England

Down freight passing Dunford Bridge station just before opening of New Woodhead Tunnel
Down freight passing Dunford Bridge station just before opening of New Woodhead Tunnel
View eastward, towards Penistone and Sheffield/Wath: ex-GC Manchester - Sheffield/Wath via Woodhead main line, just five days before the old station and Tunnels were opened on the newly-electrified route. (See also other images at Dunford Bridge). The Class J Down mineral is headed by O4/8 2-8-0 No. 63853, LNER No. 6292 from acquisition in 1/24 until renumbered 3853 in 1946: it was built as ROD No. 2055 to Government order in 6/19, never went to France and was purchased by the LNWR in 9/19 (No. 2851), returned to the Government in 8/21 and stored at Queensferry until 1/24; it was rebuilt to O4/8 in 5/44 and eventually withdrawn in 11/63 as No. 63853.
Woodhead Tunnel and Sheffield (Victoria) - Manchester railway

Shortly before World War Two, a start was made on the electrification of the LNER main line between Rotherwood Sidings (east of Sheffield Victoria) and from Wath Central via the Worsbrough Branch to Penistone and over the Woodhead route to Manchester London Road and other points off the main line including Glossop. The war interrupted the electrification for over 10 years, although the steel standards for the overhead catenary bordered the route over the intervening period.
After the war it was found that the two 3-mile single-line Woodhead Tunnels (now almost 100 years old and traversed latterly by 100 steam trains a day) were almost collapsing and beyond economic repair. Therefore before the electrification could be completed a new much larger double-track tunnel would have to be built, parallel to and on the south side of the old bores. Work began in August 1949 and was completed, along with the electrification (also new stations at Dunford Bridge and Woodhead and a new bridge over the River Etherow at Woodhead) in June 1954. However, the pre-war scheme to electrify the railways through to Manchester Central, the Docks and the Trafford Park industrial area had been abandoned, 'Motorway Madness' ensued, the M62 was built instead and the whole modernised railway was closed down and ripped up (between Hadfield and Penistone) in July 1981!
My brother-in-law, Andrew Sharman, was Chief Site Engineer for the Consultants, Sir William Halcrow & Partners, for the New Woodhead Tunnel (also the Thurgoland Tunnel near Sheffield). He and his family were provided with a bungalow at the Dunford Bridge temporary workers' camp, so I used to visit and was taken all over (and into) the construction works, and took photographs. (See e.g. SK1199, SE1502, SE1602. For a detailed description of the whole project, see E.M. Johnson, 'Woodhead: the Electric Railway', Foxline, Stockport 2001: ISBN 870119 81 9).

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Geographical Context: Railways other tags: Manchester - Sheffield via Woodhead LNE 2-8-0 Click a tag, to view other nearby images.
This photo is linked from: Automatic Clusters: · Sheffield to Manchester [14] · New Station [12] · Headed [7] ·
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SE1502, 156 images   (more nearby 🔍)
Ben Brooksbank   (more nearby)
Date Taken
9 June 1954   (more nearby)
Monday, 19 March, 2012
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SE 158 023 [100m precision]
WGS84: 53:31.0500N 1:45.7730W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SE 158 023
View Direction
East-northeast (about 67 degrees)
Clickable map
W Go E
Image classification(about): Geograph
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