Battle lines at Woodhead

  • Source: The Rail Engineer
  • Published: January 2008

Battle lines at Woodhead

A coalition of transport and environmental campaigners has vowed to fight the National Grid’s use of a tunnel on the former Woodhead route as a cable run.

A 400kV power line is currently carried in one of two Victorian single bores which cut through the Pennines but, according to NG, this is in poor condition and costly to repair. It now intends to install cabling through the 1954 double track tunnel, effectively scuppering any future use as a railway.

The plans are opposed by several local councils, regional business groups and the Peak District National Park. However the Government has refused to intervene as relaying the line does not feature in any strategic rail plans.

Protestors have launched a media campaign and are lobbying politicians. More than two dozen MPs have already signed an Early Day Motion whilst a petition has been set up on the Downing Street website. The tunnel’s western portal will be the venue for a demonstration against the scheme on Saturday 12th January.

Time is not on the campaigners’ side. It is understood that the National Grid will begin preparatory work early in the New Year.