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What if Woodhead hadn't closed?


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14 hours ago, Graham1960 said:

However somewhere along the way certain people either blocked future plans or made certain any future cash went to schemes which benefited the South of England. Perhaps to favour voters who voted for the Conservative Party.  

 

Not sure that the Glasgow suburban electrification schemes particularly benefitted the Tory party, nor the WCML which serves, among other places, Manchester, Liverpool, Stoke etc.

 

I don't know how many times it has to be said, the reason Woodhead closed was because in 1981 BR was under severe financial pressure (yes, under a Tory Government) and there was insufficient traffic to justify all the Transpennine routes. Therefore, as Woodhead had already lost its passenger service, and its remaining core freight traffic was both very inefficient to handle and could be diverted elsewhere, sadly it had to go.

 

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6 hours ago, John Tomlinson said:

As I said, if you want a rant then have fun. Don't let it get in the way of historical fact.

 

Agreed - The Big Four certainly weren't pleading to be taken over by the taxpayer, the impending Nationalisation of the railways was criticised by almost everyone in 1947, but the government did it anyway.   Just as they did for Railways Act of 1995.

 

Oh and it's the "Tory" party (one R)........

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11 hours ago, John Tomlinson said:

As I said, if you want a rant then have fun. Don't let it get in the way of historical fact.

 

John.

Unlike you I don't rant. And historical facts are always open to interpretation. More recent ones especially. Since most of the people telling them are OXBRIDGE people.

And these days there's more historians in Universities, than there were staff in the 1920's.

 

My spelling corrector also picked up your industry error John.

Torry still sounds the same as Tory. :biggrin_mini2:

Edited by Graham1960
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14 hours ago, John Tomlinson said:

Trying to get back to topic, and a shameless plug for my website, I recently scanned a load of Woodhead electric pictures from the late '70's. Clicking on any one of them, then the Album link at right referenced "The Woodhead Route" will show the lot.

 

I hope this works,    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]

 

John.

Great photographs John, I had seen them before and already 'faved'.

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6 hours ago, Jim76 said:

Great photographs John, I had seen them before and already 'faved'.

That's very kind Jim, thanks.

 

I was pretty lucky on my trips up there and usually managed days with decent light and quite a lot of action. Another chap I knew at the time had several goes and on nearly all of them found nothing happening, wires down or whatever! The surprising thing was that I only ever met one other lineside photographer up there, given the threat of closure hung for several years, the place would have been packed in later times. It was a different regime then as well, no one bothered much if you were inside the fence and a cheery wave was very common from the drivers.

 

One thing one became aware of was the dependence on the MGR coal traffic to Fiddlers Ferry, and non-MGR trains were a bit of a bonus, certainly welcome variety. The decision to allow purchase of foreign coal at lower prices for this traffic coming into Liverpool really was the final blow, as the residual traffic could easily be accomodated elsewhere. People also forget that de-industrialisation, in the sense of Lenin's Commanding Heights, had been going on in Britain for a long time, arguably since the '30's and certainly since the late '50's, so all of the traditional flows were in decline anyway. Without winding people up any more, the Thatcher government simply turbocharged that process by moving to a market based economy. I have a Working Timetable for the line in 1958, close on 100 trains a day each way through the tunnel, which I guess explains better than anything why electrification looked a good bet when it was built!

 

John.

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Presumably there was no technical reason why the Woodhead couldn't be converted to 25kV, if it was found to be worth retaining - after all, the GE/LTS 1500V systems were changed to AC (IIRC the interim 6.25kV even used the same OLE infrastructure/clearances as 1500V)

 

Another issue which didn't help the Railways was the strike in 1955 which lost a lot of goods traffic to road hauliers, never to return, especially as they could offer a true door-to-door service

Edited by keefer
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