Woodhead Tunnels

A quick visit to the Western portals

December 1998

The images in this page are about 20k each. Each picture is linked to a 50kb version of the same image.

General view of western portals of Woodhead tunnels

Woodhead station platforms and new tunnel

From left to right there are three tunnels. Two are single track tunnels, which are the original Manchester, Sheffield and Lincoln Railway's Eastbound and Westbound lines. The Westbound is hidden behind the square building in the centre of the picture above. On the right is the double-track 1950s "New" tunnel which was constructed when the line was electrified.

The square building seems to be a workshop and store, and is also the "loco shed" for the narrow gauge railway, which has a spur into it via a hand-worked turnout in the tunnel mouth.

As it was then: tunnel mouths in 1960s before the CEGB buildings obscured the scene.

Western terminus of Woodhead narrow gauge line and old Eastbound portal
Inside Western portal of Eastbound old bore, showing man-carrying open carriage
The Eastbound bore is the one which carries the National Grid high tension power lines. They run in the concrete trough to the left of the two pictures above. The 2' gauge railway on the right is used to take workers and materials into the tunnel. The Westbound bore (not pictured) is not in use at the moment (1999), and has a young river flowing out of the entrance, which disappears into a conduit underneath the blockhouse.
A curious stone "bothy" let into the hillside
, just north and east of the station site.
Philip Knowles writes, "This could be the gunpowder magazine that was used during the construction of the tunnels. It is referred to in Terry Coleman's book "The Railway Navvies" and was said to be built of stone and eight feet deep into the rock wall of the cutting."
Inside Western portal of new bore

Relevant Links

The Woodhead Site of the EM2 Locomotive Society - really needs about a 3000x2000 pixel screen due to its layout, but worth persevering with due to excellent pics and history !

John Law On The Rails: Station site during track lifting, 1986; Dunsford Bridge portal in 1968 and 2007. Gallery: Sheffield Victoria & the Woodhead Route, 1968 to closure.

Brit]Subterranea Britannica Disused Stations on Woodhead Station.

Google for Woodhead Tunnel.