The First Railway Between Manchester & Sheffield, by George Dow, LNER, 1945


The First Railway Between Manchester & Sheffield, by George Dow, LNER, 1945. Booklet, card cover, pp. 44, folding table giving details of early locomotives, gradient profile of the line, plans of Bridgehouses station Sheffield, and Manchester London Road; line drawings of early locomotives and rolling stock, map of the line, 19 B&W engravings and photographs


Published to mark the centenary of the first train to run throughout between Manchester and Sheffield in December 1845, one has to admire George Dow and the LNER for having written and produced this booklet during the closing stages of WWII, and publishing it only weeks after VJ Day. The Sheffield Ashton-Under-Lyne & Manchester Railway would become the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire, before extending itself to London as the Great Central – a constituent of the LNER. The line carried very heavy east –west coal traffic, through the notorious twin single-bore tunnels at Woodhead, and before the war, work had begun on electrifying  it at 1500 volts DC, work being suspended for the duration of hostilities. One can see the public relations value of this publication in reminding the powers-that-be of this stalled project, which would need a share of scarce materials to be completed. In the event, it would be 1954 before the work was completed, including a new twin-bore tunnel at Woodhead

As usual with Dow’s work, it is well-written and meticulously researched and a complex history of railway amalgamations is clearly explained.



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