Our stance on re-opening the Woodhead railway
What’s wrong with Grand Northern? We believe it's a good idea but not easy to implement at this time.
We strongly support the aspiration to take lorries off the A628, reduce carbon emissions and air pollution, and alleviate conditions within the villages of Mottram Tintwistle and Hollingworth.
However re-opening Woodhead railway would take away the Trans-Pennine Trail, a fantastic walking/cycling/horse riding route which allows the less mobile to enjoy the National Park.
The Trail is also important for undergrounding of overhead high voltage lines east and west of the Woodhead tunnels. Dunford Bridge is blighted by pylons, the majority of which could be removed within the next few years.
Current investment by the Government on the A628 focuses on providing more road space which would only lead to more congestion, air pollution and vehicle collisions. As the A628 runs through a National Park much greater attention must be given to reducing traffic.
In order to connect Manchester and Sheffield city centres we need improved rail links which are integrated with enhanced public transport within city regions: this means user-friendly, joined-up networks, involving frequent rail services, light rail and bus, all supported by smart, multi-modal ticketing with simplified fares. Committing to the Hope Valley rail upgrade, for which we have been waiting for an announcement for over a year, would be a start.
With these alternatives in place demand for road space should be managed in order to reduce travel by car. Rail freight needs a Liverpool to Hull route, with short sea shipping encouraged for longer journeys.