The Third Woodhead Tunnel (1954) by George Dow

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In the same series

“The Story of New Street ”’

Obtainable from District Publicity Representative British Railways (London Midland Region) 64 Cardington Street London N.W.1

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THE THIRD WOODHEAD TUNNEL

By GEORGE DOW, M.Inst.T.,.A.I.Loco.E.

~ Issued by British Railways (London Midland Region) to commemorate the formal opening of the new Woodhead tunnel by the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the Rt. Hon. Alan Lennox-Boyd, P.C., M.P. 3rd June 1954

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CONTENTS

Chapter I ene Pater ods eee ee Page 5 Cnapter il Preliminaries for the third tunnel... ......... Page 11 Chapter ITI Construction and completion................ Page 15 meee EY The touches. ig iis cis 5 os So 5's dyed Page 25 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The author records his thanks to all those who kindly helped in supplying information for this booklet, especially to the officer under whose direction the new tunnel was constructed, Mr. J. I. Campbell, M.1.C.E., Civil Engineer of British Railways (Eastern Region). The majority of the illustrations are official photographs taken during the progress of the work.

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a

KEY

To LIVERPOOL

*

CENTRAL,

To ROCHDALE

MANCHESTER

VICTORIAo LONDON ROAD

4 N ASHBURYS

4

To DERBY

LINES IN COURSE OF ELECTRIFICATION LINES TO BE ABANDONED

OTHER LINES

YORKSHIRE

Sa CHESHIRE / RG DUNFORD és. 2 BRIDGE te aad a ; ste eae Sage / To OLDHAM To LEEDS »\ \ ge Pe WOODHEAD ~. of \ / Se a” Jf CROWDEN \/ ASHTON </ yw FAIRFIELD GORTO :

ae a Co CHESHIRE / o cae Zz STALYBRIDGE

at

\ I j~ [HADFIELD FOR

j PHOLLINGWORTH

{ GLOSSOP poe eg CENTRAL \ p °

DINTING

BROADBOTTOM FOR MOTTRAM & CHARLESWORTH oe

BRIDGE NEWTON FOR HYDE REDDISH DEPOT DERBYSHIRE

ce To STOCKPORT & 1° LIVERPOOL

ao Boundary \

OLD AND NEW WOODHEAD TUNNELS AND CONNECTING LINES

To BARNSLEY

To ee WOMBWELL CENTRAL PENISTONE

WATH YARD Cc

To DONCAS

OUGHTY BRIDGE

WADSLEY

BRIDGE YORKSHIRE

SHEFFIELD VICTORIA

ROTHERWOOD EXCHANGE SIDINGS

To NOTTINGHAM

To RETFORD

WATH ENTRAL

TER

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THE THIRD WOODHEAD TUNNEL

I THE EARLIER TUNNELS

The first direct railway between Manchester and Sheffield, known as the Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne & Manchester,* was opened in sections, the first portion being brought into public use, without ceremony, between Manchester (Travis Street) and Godley, on 17th November 1841. But only when its engineering piéce de résistance, the Woodhead tunnel, was completed, at a cost of about £200,000, could the line be opened throughout between Manchester (London Road) and Sheffield (Bridgehouses), and this took place formally and with appropriate celebrations on Monday, 22nd December 1845.

It was originally planned to pierce the Pennine Range by a tunnel accommodating two tracks, but to economise it was decided to drive a single line bore. At the outset it was necessary to make over four miles of cart roads across the moors for the conveyance of coal and materials from the public roads. The building of workmen’s cottages, stables, magazines and the erection of the essential plant occupied many months. It was not until September 1839, two months after Charles Vignoles, the Engineer-in-Chief of the line, had resigned and had been succeeded by Joseph Locke, that a serious start was made on the tunnel itself.

The Woodhead tunnel was built on an inclination of I in 201 rising in an easterly direction. For the greater part it was driven through huge millstone grit beds, with which occasionally alternated argil- laceous shales and milder forms of sandstone, the remainder through slate formation and clay. Construction was accomplished by working from each end towards the centre and by means of five vertical shafts, all having a diameter of about 8 feet. In each shaft a set of 9-inch pumps was provided, these being operated by a 20 h.p. steam engine. The sinking of the vertical shafts and the driving of the horizontal driftways were carried out by the Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne & Manchester Railway. When in 1842 contractors were appointed to complete the work, Mr. Hattersley taking the western portion and Nicholson the eastern and greater part, the tunnel was driven throughout, save for about 1,000 yards.

The arch of the tunnel was in the form of a semi-ellipse, the springing and soffit of the arch being respectively about 10 feet and 18 feet above rail level, and the width of the tunnel 15 feet at rail level. Two open side channels 18 inches wide and 24 inches deep were cut for drainage and throughout the length of the tunnel 25 side arches,

*Became part of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway in 1849. Name changed in 1897 to Great Central Railway, which became a constituent of the London & North Eastern Railway in 1923.

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PHOTOGRAPH, TAKEN BY MR. S. NEWTON, IN MAY 1903, OF THE WESTERN PORTALS OF THE OLD TUNNELS, SHOWING ORIGINAL OBSERVATION TOWER AND PART OF WOODHEAD STATION

EASTERN PORTALS OF OLD TUNNELS AT DUNFORD BRIDGE

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or manholes, were built 6 feet into one side at intervals of about 200 yards, to facilitate the construction of a second tunnel should this eventually be needed.

During the actual period of construction, which lasted over six years, the number of men employed fluctuated considerably, and although at one time it was said to be as great as 1,500, the very nature of the work prevented a large number being engaged simultaneously, and during the first three years an average number of 400 men were employed. The wages ranged from 4s. to 6s. per day, which were regarded as generous in those times. Some 157 tons of gunpowder were used for blasting, 8 million tons of water were pumped out, and the total quantity of excavation was nearly 272,700 cubic yards.

On 20th December 1845, the tunnel was ready for inspection by General Pasley, the Government Inspector of Railways, and he, having expressed his entire satisfaction, declared that it was one of the finest pieces of engineering he had ever seen. It was formally opened two days later. Extending for a distance of 3 miles 22 yards, it was then the longest tunnel in the country.

Special precautions were taken to ensure against accidents. A pilot locomotive was stationed at the tunnel and attached to the front of every train that passed through. The Manchester Guardian, in a contemporary account, recorded “ Cooke & Wheatstone’s patent magnetic telegraph was being fixed in the tunnel with an index, etc., the stations at each end, capable of being worked by the station clerks ”

The single line through the Woodhead tunnel soon became a serious operating bottleneck, and in 1847 work upon a second bore was begun. This new tunnel, which was to accommodate the up road, was driven alongside the original one, with which it was connected by the 25 manholes already mentioned. Its construction was marred by tragedy, for in 1849 cholera stalked amongst the workmen at the Woodhead end, and within a short space of time had claimed 28 fatal victims. Three years afterwards, on 2nd February 1852, the second tunnel, of the same length as its predecessor, was opened for traffic.

Communication through the Woodhead tunnels was improved in 1889 by the installation of electric bell signalling, fully described in a paper read before the International Railway Congress in June 1892. Each one of the 25 manholes was provided with two electric plungers, one for the up road and the other for the down, together with a single stroke bell answering for both lines. And by means of a compre- hensive code train crews could indicate their position and report their difficulty, such as engine failure, derailment, or broken rail, to the signal boxes at each end of the tunnel. The apparatus was subsequently replaced by a modern telephone installation.

The ventilation of the Woodhead tunnels always presented a difficulty, and it has been said that they had an odour all of their own, an odour one could almost taste as well as smell, resembling that of cheap port. The problem of adequate ventilation brought about the

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abzudonment of a signal box installed in No. 12 manhole for operating intermediate signals provided on the up road so as to increase its capacity. The precise date the box was brought into use is not known, but it was in existence in 1902, and closed about seven years later. Signalmen prepared to man the box on a reduced shift of six hours were not easy to find, whilst the smoke made the reading of signals and observation of tail lamps extremely difficult; furthermore, drivers of trains stopped by the signals found re-starting a troublesome job on the rising gradient. Better ventilation was effected by the doubling of the diameter of vertical shaft No. 2, a lengthy task started in October, 1912, and completed three years later.

During the late eighteen-forties several important additions at both ends of the railway between Manchester and Sheffield were brought into use. By 1851, when Sheffield Victoria station was opened, it had already assumed the status of an important east-west trunk line linking Manchester with Grimsby, with connexions to Huddersfield and Lincoln. By the turn of the century it had become the northern section of the Great Central’s Manchester—Sheffield—Nottingham— Leicester-London (Marylebone) main line, the last main line to enter the metropolis. But the Manchester—Sheffield section remained the busiest, and for many years the intensity of traffic through the Woodhead tunnels has averaged 80 or more trains every day in each direction, 9 out of every 10 of which are coal trains or empties.

As the tunnels neared their century of useful service deterioration became increasingly evident, chiefly in the disappearance of mortar in the joints of the stone lining. Maintenance was difficult owing to the volume of traffic, and before long it was found that week-end possessions of the lines were inadequate to keep pace with the increasing rate of deterioration. In 1946 the drastic step was taken of giving the civil engineering department absolute possession of each tunnel alternately over a period of nine months, so that repair work could be pursued continuously day and night. This necessitated single line working through one tunnel and the diversion of a heavy volume of traffic to other routes.

But it was not enough, for at the end of the agreed period there was still needed a very generous extension of time to accomplish the essential repair work outstanding. The operating difficulties created by single line working were such that this extension could not be entertained, and, taking also into consideration the age and condition of the tunnels, it was clear that the construction of a new tunnel and the abandonment of the old ones presented the only practicable solution.

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i

GARGOYLES ON ORIGINAL WESTERN PORTALS Top—BETWEEN PORTALS Bottom Left—UP LINE Bottom Right—DOWN LINE

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Rail levels 3

Tharmage feet Zero 1077 2555 9515 12443 1732 WEST 7,820 feer + 4,602 feet ———+}-—— 3.615 feet

PIKENAZE MOOR OEARDEN MOSS Horizontal scale

Feet 1000

1,480 feet 1,530

1000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 feet

New 16°-dia shaft 2 Existing shaft No. § 3 1,400 2 ev ° 3 300. oe os 3 2 3 2 1.200 8 w ae oo > Grade summit +8" -dia. stope to 1,100 3 I = shaft OUNFORD BRIOGE 1,000 = WOQOHEAO lin tl ae s Tie in 1,186 down 900 3 a 800 > Sa Datum. 700-0 feet @.D, I cater

LONGITUDINAL SECTION OF NEW TUNNEL

< Maximum width of excavation. 30’-6"

(8112 Portal €

Chainage. feet

AST

Maximum height of excavation: 26 -4°

4-0 Height above rail: 20’-7}"

i I ee

Pe _—

M.O T. desirable structure gauge

me nm a ae a a ae we ge Ce ee

\ I ww? 2 \ Lis li iY oe \ > oe ae £3 ee ek ee vs 6'16 “Oe }

Haunch drain ™ Centre drain Scale : I inch = 10 feet

TYPICAL CROSS SECTION

10 ;

Ze : Ir, 7.

o> Recesses for overhead electrical equipment generally ac 146-ft cers

Dy 217 minimum thickness

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Il PRELIMINARIES FOR THE THIRD TUNNEL

In considering a new tunnel at Woodhead three different schemes were investigated, namely, the construction of (1) a new single line tunnel and repair of one of those existing, (2) two new single line tunnels, and (3) a new double line tunnel. It was found that the estimated costs were in the proportion 1.04 : 1.43 : 1.00 respectively, and accordingly the civil engineers recommended to the management of the London & North Eastern Railway that a double line tunnel should be taken in hand.

The Board of Directors accepted this recommendation,* and Parliamentary powers were obtained in the L.N.E.R. Act of 1947, Sir William Halcrow & Partners being appointed Consulting Engineers to undertake details of design and supervise the work on the site under the direction of J. I. Campbell, M.I.C.E., the Company’s Civil

Engineer, who was destined to see the work through to completion.

For the protection of certain bodies and authorities the Act included clauses which entailed additional works and costs. For instance, in the case of the Manchester Corporation, to protect the waterworks catchment area, and the domestic water supply reservoirs, which are on the west side of the tunnel, it was laid down that all water arising from the new tunnel should be purified before being discharged into the river Etherow, which passes under the railway, close by the western portal, on its way to the reservoirs. It was also stipulated that the Corporation’s Medical Officer would have the right to examine any person employed in the construction of the works to avoid risk of contamination of the water supply. And the Act further required the observation of the provisions of the Town & Country Planning Acts, especially in connexion with the siting and formation of spoil tips. In addition to the new tunnel several other works had to be undertaken. These included the remodelling of the approach track layouts at both the Woodhead and Dunford Bridge ends, and the construction of new platforms and station buildings at these places, together with two new signal boxes; a new overline bridge at Dunford Bridge under Windleden Lane and a new underline bridge over the Etherow at Woodhead; and the demolition of certain housing at Dunford Bridge, and its replacement, along with the erection of stationmasters’ houses at both stations.

* The L.N.E.R. Board had already, in 1936, approved a scheme for the electrification of the Manchester—Sheffield—Wath lines, work upon which was well in hand before the outbreak of war in 1939.

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DUNFORD BRIDGE CAMP AND NEW AND EXISTING EASTERN TUNNEL PORTALS

In planning the location of the new tunnel careful consideration had to be given to the geological formation and the condition of the existing tunnels, as well as the position of the approach tracks and possible operating needs, and it was decided to drive the new bore on the south side of its two predecessors. The line adopted was at a distance of 100 feet between the centres of the existing down line tunnel and of the new tunnel. The old tunnels are completely straight, and it was planned to maintain the space of 100 feet throughout, save for a section of 600 feet through blocky sandstone at the Woodhead end, where the new tunnel curves on a radius of 40 chains to permit easy connexion with the existing alignment of the approach tracks.

The points where rock cover become adequate for tunnelling fixed

the location of the portals and, on the line chosen, it meant that the

CAMP POST OFFICE AND RETAIL STORE

(Photo Photoflight Ltd)

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CAMP THEATRE

new tunnel would become the third longest* in the country, for it would extend for 3 miles 66 yards, 6 yards longer than the Standedge and 44 yards longer than its two neighbours.

Unlike the latter, the new tunnel was planned to rise at 1 in 129 from the Woodhead end for about 2 miles, thence fall towards Dunford Bridge at 1 in 1,186, as shown in the longitudinal diagram on page LO, the two gradients being joined by a vertical parabolic curve 800 feet long at the summit. This change in gradient was adopted so that if it was eventually desired to.increase the traffic capacity of the tunnel by permitting two trains to be on one line simultaneously, only an alteration to the signalling would be needed.

* The longest tunnel on British Railways is the Severn (4 miles 628 yards), followed by the Totley (3 miles 950 yards).

*“ TEMPORARY INN” AT THE CAMP

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A typical cross-section of the tunnel is illustrated on page 10. It will be noted that for the lining of the tunnel a minimum thickness of 21 inches was specified.

An essential preliminary to a civil engineering task of this magni- tude, to be carried out in a location several miles from the nearest town, and bleak and desolate beyond words in winter, was the building of a camp to house more than 1,100 workmen as well as engineering and office staffs, and accommodate repair workshops. And so a small township sprang up at the Dunford Bridge end of the tunnel, complete with 48 wooden sectional dormitory huts, wooden bungalows for the Resident Engineer and senior supervisory staff, cinema (with change of programme thrice weekly) and recreation hall, dry and wet canteens, first aid and sick bay hut, retail store and post office. At the latter a new postmark came into use, illustrated below.

Now all has vanished, save for the sewage works built for the camp. Considerable trouble was taken, at the request of the local authority, to make the installation fulfil the permanent needs of the little hamlet of Dunford Bridge which, before the advent of the railway engineers, had lacked this amenity.

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Tif CONSTRUCTION AND COMPLETION

On 15th November 1948, the then newly constituted Railway Executive gave authority for the work to proceed, and construction started in February of the following year, with a target completion period of 35 years. The contract for construction was placed in the hands of Messrs. Balfour Beatty & Co., who had carried out the recent repair work to the old tunnels and who, therefore, possessed knowledge of local conditions.

The contractor planned to drive a pilot tunnel 12 feet wide by 12 feet high from each portal and from a central vertical shaft, thus affording four working faces, and on completion, to enlarge the pilot tunnel by radial drilling, working from the two portals. The driving speed of the pilot tunnel was estimated at about 80 feet per face per week and that of the full size tunnel, by radial drilling, 120 feet per face per week, this rate of progress being sufficient to ensure completion within the specified period.

The work of driving the pilot tunnel came up to expectations, and it was completed throughout on 16th May 1951. Meantime, experi- ments by radial drilling in various rock conditions had been carried out, with most disappointing results. The advantages of radial drilling have been lucidly described elsewhere* and, had it been successful at Woodhead, would have been well worthwhile but, unfortunately, due largely to the nature of the shaly rock encountered, the entire system had to be abandoned.

This set-back created a serious problem of re-organisation, since with only the four enlargement faces available it was unlikely that by the alternative method of face drilling could faster progress than 20 to 30 feet per week be achieved, this being about half that required.

The solution was to open up additional enlargement faces, and plans to this end were being evolved when, on 8th June 1951, with but a few hours warning, a length of 72 feet of enlarged tunnel at the Woodhead end, driven through shale and strengthened by steel ribs, collapsed and completely blocked access from that portal.

The menace to progress created by this obstruction, which took six months to work through, was overcome by driving a haulage way around the blocked area at a distance of 50 feet, and opening a new break-up with two working faces. This was successful, and as at this

*Woodhead New Tunnel: Construction of a three-mile main double line railway tunnel, by Peter Adamson Scott, B.Sc., M.I.C.E., and John Isdale Campbell, M.I.C.E., a Paper presented to the Institution of Civil Engineers on 16th March 1954.

oad

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PREPARING GELIGNITE CHARGES IN PILOT TUNNEL (1949)

time there were signs of a similar collapse impending at the Dunford Bridge end, the threatened section was strengthened by the erection of additional steel ribs, and another diversion haulage way, 600 feet inside the portal, was driven so that yet two more working faces could be brought into use. And thus it turned out that the expedient adopted to cope with the collapse became the solution to the problem of access, for ultimately no less than 9,500 feet of by-pass tunnel were driven to permit the working of nine enlargement faces simulta- neously.

On page 18 is reproduced a diagram showing how the pilot tunnel was enlarged in stages. First was undertaken the excavation of the floor of the pilot to the level of the finished tunnel, and then face working was started on the enlargement. Much of the work was done

PILOT TUNNEL ABOUT 1,300 FEET FROM WOODHEAD PORTAL, SHOWING STEEL RIB ROOF SUPPORTS (1950)

i i ale

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full face, using a steel gantry, on rails, which not only embodied drilling platforms, but equipment for erecting the steel arch ribs. Thus were the latter installed closely behind the excavation as the actual work of drilling was accomplished, the proximity of the two operations affording a safeguard against further falls.

For supporting the roof of both pilot and enlarged tunnels some 5,900 tons of steel were used, and for their excavation the drilling was done by the light hand-guided type of machine mounted on a single air-operated supporting leg giving a power thrust. About 32 holes were drilled for the pilot face and 55 for the enlargement, the depth varying from 6 to 10 feet, according to the type of rock. Polar Ammon “ B”’ gelignite, with electric gasless delay detonators, was

THE MEETING OF THE PILOT TUNNELS ON I6TH MAY 1951

used for explosive, and an average of slightly less than 24 Ibs. per cubic yard was needed for the whole job.

Elaborate precautions were taken during blasting because of the proximity of the new tunnel to the existing down line tunnel, over which a heavy traffic passed. Although site tests previously made by Imperial Chemical Industries’ explosive engineers had indicated that no harm would result, public safety was put first, as always on British Railways, and inspection was carried out after each blast. Telephones were accordingly installed at every blasting place, and at correspond- ing opposite points in the down line tunnel, all being connected to a switchboard at Dunford Bridge signal box. When the foreman in charge of blasting was ready to fire he informed the signalman; the

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Portal

Pilot cunnet with invert lowered

Cautious working as rock cover diminishes

Working faces

Enlargement

chamber

Outer break-up

e-em ewe ee He em wm ee ee Ce re

Enlargement face

> Pilottunnel 2%

4

About |!.000 feet

DIAGRAM SHOWING HOW PILOT TUNNEL WAS ENLARGED

ENLARGEMENT OF PILOT TUNNEL NEAR DUNFORD BRIDGE PORTAL

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ENTRY TO BY-PASS TUNNEL ABOUT 4,500 FEET FROM DUNFORD BRIDGE

latter gave the “ all clear ” as soon as a train had cleared the tunnel, and stopped further traffic entering until a railway patrolman had inspected the line immediately after the explosion and reported back to the signalman that there was no obstruction. Thanks to the spirit of co-operation which animated both the railway staff and contractor’s men concerned, delays either to the tunnel work or the operation of traffic were slight, and as no obstruction was ever encountered after blasting, the precautions were relaxed a little when the contract was nearing completion.

The removal of spoil was handled by Eimco rocker shovels, which loaded into 2 cubic yards capacity side-tipping skips running on 2-foot gauge track. These skips were hauled by electric battery locomotives which, in fact, were used throughout, except for shunting at the portals and shaft top, where diesel locomotives were employed. The disposal of the spoil presented a problem, for the use of the 467-foot vertical shaft would have entailed a slow and costly operation, and all convenient sites at the portals had either been used for the earlier tunnels or were now unacceptable on aesthetic grounds. And so at the Dunford Bridge end a deep ravine was filled in and the stream therein diverted, whilst at Woodhead the bulk of the material had to be transported 14 miles up the valley by dumpers or lorries. The tips were finished off to contours which harmonised with their surroundings and sown with grass seed to blend with the moorlands. Altogether some 4 million cubic yards of rock was excavated and taken to form tip sites. As the phasing of the Manchester—Sheffield—Wath electrification scheme had been arranged to eliminate any steam train working in the

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new tunnel it was possible to use ordinary Portland cement throughout for the lining. It had originally been planned to start the operation of lining as soon as the enlarging had reached 500 feet from each portal, and thereafter keep pace as radial drilling proceeded, advancing towards the centre of the tunnel at 120 feet per week. The abandon- ment of radial drilling meant complete recasting of the lining operation and this, coupled with the extensive overbreak (estimated at an average of 174 inches beyond the theoretical excavation line round the walls and arch of the tunnel) due to the type of rock encountered, meant that, in the end, the rate of progress of the whole task was

governed by the speed of lining.

To concrete the side walls and arch, in long lengths and in one operation, an apparatus known as a travelling steel shutter was used, one of 100 feet length at the east end of the tunnel and another

REAR VIEW OF DRILLING AND RIBBING GANTRY

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FIRST 20-FEET SECTION OF TRAVELLING STEEL SHUTTER ASSEMBLED AT WOODHEAD

80 feet long at the west end. Each consisted of a steel framed carriage running on bogies on the two outer narrow gauge tracks, leaving clear the tracks in the centre (four 2-foot gauge tracks were laid in the enlarged tunnel, as will be seen in the photograph on page 23). Above the carriage, to which it was linked only by levers and a row of screw jacks, rode a skin, comprised of {-inch steel plates between 8-inch by 144-inch box girder ribs, which was fashioned to the profile of the tunnel lining and hinged along its apex. Thus, by jacking down, the two halves of the skin moved downwards and inwards, approximately radially away from the profile.

The larger of the two shutters weighed 230 tons, and was designed to support about 6 feet thickness of wet concrete over its span of 27 feet, so the rails upon which it ran had not only to be firmly fixed but most carefully positioned on a concrete base, for they in fact determined the setting of the whole lining. With the shutter in position, dry batches of concrete were brought in from the portal by trains of two bogies each carrying six hoppers to the mixers, which were placed as close as possible to the shutter. After mixing, the ‘concrete was conveyed to the shutter by 4-inch diameter concrete pumps at the rate of about 10 cubic yards per hour.

With careful planning, lining progress was worked up to a maxi- mum of three lengths (of 80 or 100 feet) on alternate weeks and two lengths intermediately. Altogether some 150,000 cubic yards of

concrete was used in the lining.

Early in 1953 good progress was being achieved in all directions, -and 12th June was fixed for the day on which the last shutter of

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(Photo The Fines Weekly Review) STANDARD TRAIN, HAULED BY ELECTRIC BATTERY LOCOMOTIVE, FOR CONVEYING DRY BATCHES. OF .CONCRETE TO. THE. MIXERS

CLOSE-UP OF TWIN CONCRETE MIXER AND PUMP EQUIPMENT FOR TUNNEL LINING

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VIEW OF LINED TUNNEL LOOKING EAST FROM A POINT 2,500 FEET IN FROM DUNFORD BRIDGE (1952)

concrete lining was to be pumped in, immediately west of the vertical shaft. On 21st May, however, at this very spot, a major fall occurred, but so well did the staff on the site tackle the situation that the pumping of the last concrete took place only a fortnight later than the date originally envisaged.

With the completion of grouting and drainage and the laying of the track (one of which was laid by hand and the other prefabricated, put down by tracklayer hauled to the site by diesel electric loco- motive), the job of constructing the tunnel itself was completed in October 1953, at a total cost of about £41 million. It was to be expected that in a civil engineering task of such magnitude there would be mishaps involving some injury to the men engaged, but in the case of fatalities the new tunnel at Woodhead gave a much more satisfactory record than its earliest predecessor, upon which 26 men lost their lives. During the 44 years it took to build the third tunnel at Woodhead, only six fatalities occurred, two of which were due to normal industrial risks.

During the week beginning on 26th October the varied plant and equipment, stores and huts, of which Dunford Bridge camp was comprised, were disposed of by public auction. All that now remained to be given were the final touches . . .. the overhead electrical equipment, the signalling, the telephones, the lighting and so forth.

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PREFABRICATED. BEING LOWERED INTO POSITION

LAYING TRAIN

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IV THE FINAL TOUCHES

The overhead line electric traction equipment consists of steel booms mounted on brackets recessed in the tunnel walls and spanning both tracks. From these booms is supported, at a uniform contact height of 15 feet, the overhead wiring which conveys 1,500 volts D.C. to the pantographs of passing locomotives. The wiring consists of 0.321 sq. inch hard drawn copper catenary, 0.191 hard drawn copper auxiliary catenary and 0.30 sq. inch cadmium copper contact wire, and the supports are normally located at 146 feet intervals.

Through the tunnel, on brackets attached to the wall on the up side, is laid a 33 K.V. 3 core 0.10 sq. inch H.S.L. type transmission cable, for supplying electricity to the traction sub-stations, and this serves as a link between the supply points in Lancashire and York- shire; the sub-station supervisory control cable follows a similar route. A twin lead cable, with telephone plug points at eight places for portable instruments, is also located on the up side for electric transmission maintenance purposes. On the down side the tunnel is threaded by six signal and telecommunications cables, these including a twin lead cable for the emergency telephones, 24 of which are fixed in recesses at 660 feet intervals; the telephones are of the “ lift to ring ’ type, operating in both Woodhead and Dunford signal boxes.

These two new signal boxes will control the working of traffic through the tunnel by means of electric colour light signals, alternating current track circuits and mechanically operated points. The signal- ling is so arranged that both the up and down lines may be used for

DUNFORD BRIDGE_PORTAL

Page 28

THE COMPLETED TUNNEL

50 YARDS

a O =< = O oO oO = m > Oo m z —{ Ww > = oO m

Page 29

i a

WOODHEAD PORTAL

either-way working in an emergency, for which special single line

electric token instruments have been installed.

In the tunnel itself up inner and up outer distant signals are controlled from Dunford West (originally No. 1) signal box for normal working over the up line, with equivalent signals on the down line for up trains when single line working by electric token is in operation over the down line. Woodhead signal box controls down inner and down outer distant signals for normal working over the down line, with equivalent signals on the up line for down trains when single line working is in operation over the up line. The tunnel is not track circuited throughout, but berth track circuits extend about 150 yards

‘inwards from each portal for the Dunford and Woodhead home

signals. 3 Electric lighting is provided throughout the tunnel on both sides, the lamps on the down side being continuously alight at reduced voltage, controls in both Dunford and Woodhead signal boxes enabling I full lighting to be switched on for maintenance purposes or in emergency. The lamps on each side of the tunnel are spaced at intervals of 132 feet and staggered to give illumination at intervals of 66 feet when full lighting is in use. I The new tunnel at Woodhead is unquestionably not only the epic railway civil engineering achievement of 1954, but one of the greatest tunnelling works undertaken in this country during the present century. Once again has the formidable Pennine Range been con- quered. But this time, with the aid of all-electric operation, passengers will no longer, to paraphrase the words of J. Pendleton in Our Railways, * Bang the windows up, close the ventilators, catch a glimpse of a grim stone archway and a mass of clinging smoke, and cough, gasp or

patiently bear their way through ”’.

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WOODHEAD NEW TUNNEL I i

LENGTH 3 MILES 66 YARDS

OPENED BY THE RT. HON. ALAN LENNOX-BOYD P.C.M.P.

MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND CIVIL AVIATION THURSDAY 38° JUNE 1954

JA.CAMPBELL MICE-CIVIL ENGINEER-EASTERN REGION: BRITISH RAILWAYS SIR WILLIAM HALCROW & PARTNERS CONSULTING ENGINEERS BALFOUR BEATTY & COMPANY LIMITED-CIVIL ENGINEERING CONTRACTORS

PLAQUE AT WOODHEAD PORTAL

PRINTED BY HARRISON AND SONS, LiD.; ST. MARTIN’S LANE, LONDON

BR 35028

Page 32

(BRITISH RAILWAYS )

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