It would be arrogant for Grand Northern to believe that this project will be the ultimate panacea to all our TransPennine transport woes, however, at least it’s a start and a means of bringing some much needed regional investment. We also except that some people will be dead against the idea of trains replacing their bridle paths and running close to their homes. However, we will do our utmost to ensure the well being of those affected by the construction and future operation of the New Woodhead Railway Line. 

Here are some of our most asked questions – and our answers to them – If you have any more questions – Please send your questions via our contact form by clicking here

Frequently Asked Questions About The Grand Northern Railway Project

How can Grand Northern claim that they will be re-opening the Woodhead Railway as the 1st Zero Emission transport link across the Pennines?

Grand Northern are 100% confident that we will be able to build the 1st Zero Emissions transport link across the Pennines. This is because we will be using regenerative braking on all our locomotives, which essentially means that over 80% of the energy used to pull the train up the hill will be regained when the motors are switched to generators for the downward leg. As an additional revenue stream, we will take some of this electricity and store it in battery farms for release to the grid during peak demand, such as triad periods, when the kWhr feed price is at its highest. The balance of electricity we require will come from the renewable energy sources.

Would the Woodhead tunnel and route infrastructure be capable of accommodating the height of modern UK lorries?

In single configuration through 1954 tunnel there would be no problem, but this would restrict expansion and prevent other rail traffic from using the route. Grand Northern plan therefore to lower the track bed through the tunnel by 700 mm to allow a twin track and a maximum lorry height of 4.86M. The loading gauge of the existing line between the old Godley Junction and Hadfield via Dinting will require upgrade and this is included in the overall cost of the project.

What other vehicles will the shuttle service be able to carry other vehicles apart from lorries?

Subject to it satisfying all applicable safety standards and requirements, the shuttle service will be able to carry all vehicles that fit within the maximum load envelope. This would include buses, coaches, vans and even cars.

How will the viaducts along the route cope with the weight of the Rolling Stock, which will be far heavier than the current passenger trains using the line?

The weight will be spread over 8 axles not 4 as was the case with the much heavier coal carrying trains using the route prior to its closure. By spreading the weight over 8 axles, the maximum per axle would be 8.25 T not 10T as was the case with the old Coal Wagons.

Wouldn’t using Bredbury and Tinsley locations for Grand Northern’s Roll on Roll off terminals just bring more HGV traffic to the surrounding communities

Grand Northern plan to have a seamless transition between Motorway and Railway. The junctions at either end are next to industrial areas which are some distance from the nearest communities. As much as 90% of the HGV traffic that clogs up the communities of Hollingworth, Mottram, Tintwistle and Gee Cross, which lie at the end the M67 motorway, will be removed, The new railway would also bring much needed jobs and prosperity to the North of England.

How much will the project cost and how is it going to be funded?

Grand Northern estimate the cost to be £800 million using the newer of the three Woodhead Tunnels and £1 Billion ( as of November, 2018) if the Victorian Tunnels are to be used and thus re-bored. Grand Northern have a robust business case and are confident that the entire project can be funded privately. That is at effectively no direct cost to the tax payer. Any revenue through grant subsidy will be refunded annually through taxation of profits.

What will Grand Northern charge the hauliers for using the Lorry Shuttle.

Grand Northern have gone through a lengthy consultation process with the hauliers and they have recommended a cost of £130, at 2018 prices, for a one way ticket. This and the additional income from passenger services and Intermodal traffic is the basis for the revenue stream and corresponding business model that is being presented to prospective sources of finance. 

What will happen to the Bridleways that resulted from the closure of the line?

Grand Northern intend to create new Bridleways alongside the re-instated railway line. We would welcome the input of current users who wish to get involved with the desogn of the new paths.  

How Can Grand Northern Be Compared To The Roll On Roll Off Facilities Used On The Continent To Cross The Alps And The Channel?

Whilst not rising to anywhere to near the same altitude as the alps, the Pennines are still considered to be a major obstacle to overcome.

Take the Eurotunnel example. There are many ways of crossing the channel with numerous ferry crossings, but few ways of crossing the Pennines, hence the massive congestion problems. The Woodhead route is 40 miles long and in many ways similar to Eurotunnel. However, a new 30 mile long tunnel through the Pennines is not the answer. Woodhead in our view is the answer in that in effect the route has already been excavated.

Will the original bridge on the exiting line at Broadbottom have to be removed?

The loading gauged will have to be increased to accommodate the lorry shuttles so the Victorian road bridge will have to be demolished and rebuilt. However, the stones from the fascia on either side of the bridge will be removed individually and numbered and replaced on the raised abutments.