Sunday, 6 October 2013


Glossopdale Transition Initiative has learnt that rail companies have not been consulted on the fate of the Woodhead Tunnels.

The government recently wrote to local MPs about the fate of the old Victorian Woodhead Railway Tunnels now that the National Grid has finished transferring its high voltage cables to the newer 1953 tunnel. The letter from Simon Burns, Minister for Transport, indicated that the government did not consider it worthwhile spending the £25,000 a year it would cost to maintain the old tunnels in case they needed to be used again for cabling to allow trains through the 1953 tunnel.

Martin Porter, Transport Campaigner for GTi, contacted Arriva trains, who in 2000 submitted an unsuccessful £1.8 billion bid for the Trans-Pennine rail franchise which included plans to reopen the Woodhead Tunnel, to warn them the tunnel may soon not be available for use.

Ed Thomas, Head of Communications for their bid team replied “I’m afraid that we were not aware
of the plans for the tunnels prior to your email, although we did pick up press reports about the issue after you had got in touch.”

“I am, however, very grateful to you for bringing this matter to my attention. Representatives from Arriva have regular meetings with DfT Ministers and officials as part of the Government’s engagement with the Rail Industry, and our views are sought on future franchise specifications. I have disseminated your email throughout the Bid Team.”

Mr Thomas was not able to comment on any future plans Arriva may have as the government has not yet announced what form a future franchise to run trains across the Pennines would take.

Martin Porter said “It’s a real pity local campaign groups have not been invited to recent Route Based Strategy workshops to discuss the transport problems in the Longdendale valley, as we seem to be the only ones trying to consult all the relevant stakeholders.”

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