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Woodhead Railway Heritage Group

Matthew Corrigan

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Dinting Railway CentreAndy KettleWoodhead Railway Heritage GroupWRHGWoodheadGuide BridgeGlossop

A far-sighted plan to reopen the Dinting Railway Centre could herald the start of a revolution in preserving the area's rich rail heritage.

When Andy Kettle formed the Woodhead Railway Heritage Group (WRHG) a little over twelve months ago, he unwittingly awakened a long-dormant local interest in the history of Glossop's iconic rail route.

As a boy, Andy's grandparents' home backed onto the Woodhead Line and his grandfather was a signalman at Guide Bridge, which lies further towards Manchester. This sparked a lifelong interest and he has been instrumental in adopting Guide Bridge Station under the ACORP (Association of Community Railway Partnerships) scheme.

With preservation work well underway there, Andy turned his attention towards the Glossop area, initially with a view to acquiring the Dinting Signal Box. Network Rail is in the process of automating all of its signalling systems, causing many of these instantly recognisable structures to become redundant and fall into disrepair. Dinting, the last surviving such building on the Woodhead Line, is expected to come on stream in 2019. WRHG are already talking to Network Rail about how best to preserve this important reminder of our industrial heritage and held a public meeting to discuss their intentions on July 22nd.

It is also clear that interest is growing in their plan to reopen the former Dinting Railway Centre. Older readers will remember the museum, which was popular throughout the 1970s and 80s. During its heyday, steam trains were regular visitors to the site but its popularity waned and it finally closed its doors in 1991. With renewed enthusiasm for Glossop's history and the preservation of links to our past, the idea is gaining traction. Though overgrown, the buildings (including a former Great Western engine shed) are in a good state of repair and could form the basis of a new educational centre. 

Finally, WRHG are working on an ambitious proposal to run a heritage railway from Hadfield to Woodhead Tunnel. Though admittedly a long-term idea, several similar projects are already underway elsewhere. Who knows, steam trains could one day be whistling through the Longdendale Valley once again.