60th Anniversary of the opening of Britain's first electrified inter-city railway commemorated by Don Valley Railway's Electrifying Ale

60th Anniversary of the opening of Britain's first electrified inter-city railway commemorated by Don Valley Railway's Electrifying Ale

Campaigners wishing to see passenger trains into Sheffield Victoria once again are commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the electrification of the Woodhead Rail Route - Britain’s first all electrified inter-city main line – by producing a beer and a booklet, with help from one of Sheffield many fine real ale micro-breweries.

Officially opened on September 20th.1954 the electrification, has been closed for a long time . Following cuts during the Beeching era and lack of coal traffic from the 1980’s onwards the facility was surplus to British Rail’s requirements. However, Sheffield Brewing Company, whose brewery is a few hundred yards from the line is brewing the “Electrifying Ale”. This shockingly hoppy light, zesty beer is going on sale so that as well as drinking to the memory of this once familiar part of the landscape you can Toast a wish of success to Don Valley Railway towards bring the line back to life.

In addition a photo catalogue looking at the line both now and when it was open is also being published by one of its supporters. Flush with his success at being the first person ever to ride the new Edinburgh tram, Don Valley Railway supporter Aidan Croft has agreed to produce a photo catalogue of relics of the old line. If you remember using the line, the book shows what the line looks like today.

Don Valley Railway have made their case to the Department for Transport for the line to be opened, a move supported by the incumbent co-franchisee, Northern Rail. DVR plans are being proposed to feature revolutionary new Light Rapid Transit vehicles that are low fuel, low cost and easy to run. The vehicles could revolutionise the operation of rail branch lines removing the need to financially support some of the most highly subsidized parts of the nation’s rail network, and the line to Stocksbridge could be at the start of this.

Don Valley Railway head of publicity Chris Hyomes says: “Alas the government called time on the Woodhead Railway, but as well as a drink to the memory of its opening 60 years ago, we’d like to raise a toast to a new future for the route.”


1, Don Valley Railway aims to introduce passenger services between Stocksbridge/Deepcar and central Sheffield using the currently freight-only railway line between and serving Tata Steelworks in Stocksbridge from Woodburn Junction in Sheffield with the future aspiration of extending this service along the route of the Woodhead Rail line from the Junction at Deepcar.

2, An engineering feasibility study find that the Don Valley Railway has the potential for operating a reliable commuter rail service along the route between Sheffield and Stocksbridge which it is hoped will contribute to creating a business case for the re-opening of passenger services on the rail link.

3, Don Valley Railway are currently working to develop a business plan for re-opening the line using Light Rapid Transit vehicles produced by Parry People Movers of Cradley Heath, West Midlands. They currently operate a smaller version of the train planned for this line on the 1 kilometre long branch line from Stourbridge Town to Stourbridge Junction.

4, Further Enquiries can be addressed to Chris Hyomes at chris.hyomes@railfuture.org.uk; or chris153@btinternet.com 5, Further details on the website www.donvalleyrailway.org



Dave Pickersgill's picture

Good to see this vision gaining momentum - lets have a train to Sheffield please - linked to two bus routes (one clockwise, the other anti-clockwise) which link with the half-hourly trains ferrying users on a circular route in the valley (Garden Village/Leisure Centre/Whitwell/Deepcar/Manchester Rd circular). Utilise a ticket system which covers both bus/trains, with weekly/monthly etc options - well-run, this makes Garden Village to Sheffield Centre in 30 mins a viable option.