SK1199 : Woodhead Tunnel: west portal during construction of new tunnel, 1953

taken 71 years ago, 5 km WSW of Dunford Bridge, Barnsley, England

Woodhead Tunnel: west portal during construction of new tunnel, 1953
Woodhead Tunnel: west portal during construction of new tunnel, 1953
View NE from above Woodhead station, with a Manchester-bound freight emerging from the old tunnel, headed by K3 2-6-0 No. 61852. The tower on the horizon is on one of the air-shafts of the original tunnel, still in use; above the tunnel mouths is the A628 road. It is nearly a year before the New Woodhead Tunnel will be opened - and all steam locomotive traction ceases.
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: Railway Tunnel New Railway Tunnel Manchester - Sheffield via Woodhead GCR Click a tag, to view other nearby images.
This photo is linked from: Automatic Clusters: · A628 Road [20] · Old Woodhead Station [14] · Construction of the New [3] Other Photos: · Hattersley Railway Station ·
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
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SK1199, 137 images   (more nearby 🔍)
Ben Brooksbank   (more nearby)
Date Taken
14 August 1953   (more nearby)
Sunday, 29 June, 2014
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SK 114 999 [100m precision]
WGS84: 53:29.7408N 1:49.7145W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SK 114 998
View Direction
Northeast (about 45 degrees)
Clickable map
W Go E
Image classification(about): Geograph
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