The Woodhead Line: Electric Pioneer


The line form Manchester to Sheffield through the Woodhead tunnel, opened in 1845, and spent the next 75 years or so, struggling with more traffic that it could really handle.

Steep gradients over the Pennines, and through the tunnel, plus continual curvature didn't help, but the 3.5 mile tunnel was a large part of the problem, despite an extra bore being added. Thoughts of electrification existed prior to World War 1, but were deferred on cost grounds, revived  by the LNER in detail in 1936 and work started in 1939 only to be brought to a standstill by the outbreak of World War 11 .

It finally opened in 1954, and closed just under 30 years later, a fact which has been much debated every since.

This emminently readable book tells of the line' history pre-electrifiction, with considerable detail on the electrification scheme(s) themselves, the 2 classes of 1500 volt locomotives unique to the line AND why it did close so quickly.

192 hardbound pages. Many, very largely colour, photographs, route maps and diagrams.