ARCHIVE SERIES Volume 1
The Woodhead Route


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Constructed to link Sheffield and Manchester, the 41-mile route headed west from the industrial heartland of south Yorkshire, climbing to the line's summit at Woodhead, almost 1000 feet above sea level, where it penetrated the Pennine barrier before descending towards Manchester.

From it's opening, the steep inclines on the route were a severe test for the steam locomotive, resulting in the frequent need for banking and double-heading. To eliminate these expensive practices, the LNER took the decision in the 1930s to electrify the route, using an overhead 1500v d.c. system. But owing to the outbreak of the Second World War, work on this ambitious electrification scheme was delayed. Upgrading the route also required the construction of a new tunnel at Woodhead and it was not until 1954 that Britain's first mainline to use overhead electric power, and now under the ownership of British Railways, carried revenue-earning traffic.

Although steam and diesel traction could still be seen on the route, the primary motive power was the LNER-designed EM1 (Class 76) and EM2 (Class 77) locomotives. The EM2s were sold to the Netherlands Railways in 1969, following the run-down in passenger services, but the EM1s continued in service until the route's closure in 1981.

DVD Info

Region: 2
Running Time: 62 minutes




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