The Translink Solution

Translink propose to construct a rolling highway over a period of two years by re-opening the Woodhead Rail Link . The Woodhead rail link was once part of the Great Central Railway line, a major commercial conduit carrying freight and passengers between the large industrial hubs of the North and South of England. It runs alongside the A628/A616 trunks roads between Hadfield and Deepcar. However, the route was a victim of the railway decline during the 70's and 80's and closed for rail traffic in 1982. The line was subsequently removed and abandoned.

Scheme Objectives

  • Environment - to improve the local environment in Mottram, Hollingworth and Tintwistle, and to minimise the impact on the Peak District National Park.
  • Safety - by removing most of the HGV traffic from the A628/A616 safety for all future users of these roads will be improved, both inside and outside of the villages.
  • Economy - to bring greater prosperity to the North of England through reduced congestion and delays for transpennine traffic, shorter journey times and lower freight costs.
  • Accessibility - to reduce community severance, to improve access to Glossop Dale for all who live there and to ensure that unspoilt ancient woodland of great natural beauty is accessible to all.
  • Integration - to support national, regional and local transport strategies, the South Pennine Integrated Transport Strategy, and to take account of the views of the Regional Planning Conferences. To work closely with the National Highways Agency to ensure seamless access to and from the Eastern and Western Translink Terminals.


It is intended that the Roll-on Roll-off (RoRo) terminals would be situated in Hattersley, at the end of the M67 link to the M60 Manchester orbital, and Tinsley, Sheffield close to Junction 34 of the M1.

Map showing the Translink route and terminals

Most of the ‘Woodhead' Route was built to the Bern gauge and therefore, with the type of rolling stock already available on the market, construction and commissioning of the line could be completed within a two year time frame. The 3-mile long tunnel at the Woodhead summit, together with the various bridges and viaducts along the route are in excellent condition and whilst some realignment will be required, few challenges lie ahead. The RoRo terminals themselves will be of simple design and construction, since they will not require any special loading/unloading facilities involving heavy lift equipment.

Entrance to the Woodhead Tunnel


© Translink 2006