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E = MC²
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am starting this thread because the Supertram extensions thread is starting to go off topic.

Introduction
I have always had an interest in railway infrastructure, because it generally involves massive building works which have to overcome the landscape. Often picturesque a sweeping viaduct against rolling hills makes a good photo especially from above.

Most of our local railway infrastructure was completed in the Victorian age, and later rationalised ( reduced ) during the 20th century. The amount of work involved in building the local railways was on a scale which would be utterly unthinkable in England today. If you consider the famous example of the Wicker Arches which contains enough stone to build 700 large churches, but what about the other bridges and railway constructions. One particularly interesting example is Heeley station. The whole of heeley was moved aside to incorporate this massive construction. The river was diverted, the main road was diverted, and the wall along London road is an enormous masonary cliff and that is all you can see of the enormous construction.
The land it takes up is very large, probably ten or more football fields, and apart from a couple of lonely express lines, up there it is now a forest of trees in a kind of wild neglected forbidden garden. This is a great pity because the view of the surrounding distict from up there would be utterly superb. It is about 4 storeys high looking down onto the buildings below.
and when you think about the men who will have built it, it was so long ago that even most of their great grandchildren will have died of old age by now!

To gain this southern approach to sheffield, Two impressive tunnels were built over many years by mainly Irish miners.
Bradway tunnel
2027 yards long, was built in 1870 about 1 mile north of Dronfield, in Derbyshire, England.

It is at the summit of the Midland Main Line between Chesterfield and Sheffield, on what is known to railwaymen as the "New Road" which the Midland Railway built, diverting from the "Old Road" built by the North Midland Railway which bypassed Sheffield due to the gradients involved. During its excavation, a number of small heading tunnels were needed to drain some 16,000 gallons of water an hour.
And the Totley Tunnel
is a 6,230 yard (5.6 km) tunnel on the former Midland Railway Manchester-Sheffield line between Totley on the outskirts of Sheffield and Grindleford in Derbyshire, England. It was completed in 1893 and is the longest main line railway tunnel within England that runs under land for its entire length.
 

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E = MC²
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5,551 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
According to Rail Magazine, the Association of Train Operating Companies have generated a 25-point wish list for 2020. Included are: Sheffield- More tracks from the south and Rotherham - Additional tracks (guess that’s Holmes Chord).

For Sheffield to have decent rail links, Networkrail needs to reverse the track rationalisation carried out by BR in the 1970’s.

At present the Rail links with other major cities are unacceptable. We have a slow and infrequent service to London. In east coast terms, Sheffield is halfway between York and Newcastle. The journey to Manchester is no better, 55minites to travel about 42 miles.

For the local economy to thrive, we need fast and frequent rail links with other major cities.

I agree with Muddy – Keep Supertram off the Midland Main Line, the track bed needs to be protected for future development.
What I would like to know is, during the 1970s when the local stations had all closed but the four rails were still on the ground, why did they stop using one pair of rails ?
All the local history books show one pair of lines neglected and rusty, and the other pair shiny and in frequent use.
If it is a bottleneck today it must have been a bottleneck then. Were they forbidden from using the other lines so they could justify dismantling them?

From my point of view I would have thought it would make much more sense for the manchester trains to use the west pair of lines and the derby line to use the est pair..
 

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Hope Valley
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176 Posts
The Sheffield area was resignaled in the Early 1970’s. Sheffield Power Box was commissioned January 1973, resulting in the closure of manual boxes Sheffield No1, No2, A, B, Heeley Station, Heeley Carriage Sidings, Millhouses and Queens Road. Combined with a decline in freight and passenger services in the area. BR decided that it made economic sense to concentrate all traffic on the London lines. The Manchester lines were mothballed and removed. Also the Drive under was taken out of use 25th June 1972. The Drive under enabled London Trains to access platform 1 without crossing the Manchester lines.

While Midland Station was being resignaled, Victoria was reopened.

The recession of the 1980’s and a falling government subsidy forced BR to prune the network. Falling passenger numbers and dwindling freight returns in the Sheffield area, BR removed any excess capacity, Dore Junction was singled, creating today’s bottleneck
 

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E = MC²
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Fascinating.
I have never heard of the drive under, can you explain where it was?

Is it anything to do with the burrowing junction?

Edit,
I think it is the same thing, I have found it on a 1905 map and understand the term for the first time..
Unbelievably it seemed that from 1900 onwards both the lines which came from london past chesterfield via the bradway tunnel, the north (Up line) actually crossed underneath the manchester lines.
This tunnel must have been huge approximately 300 yards long. although I cannot find a good picture of it.
 

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Hope Valley
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Part of it is still in situ.
If you leave the station via the south, you will notice that the line on the far right starts to descend. The line is truncated before it enters the East Bank Tunnel. Nice Midland emblem above the tunnel entrance.

Today it’s just a siding, used as a carriage wash. …. Shame
 

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E = MC²
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Part of it is still in situ.
If you leave the station via the south, you will notice that the line on the far right starts to descend. The line is truncated before it enters the East Bank Tunnel. Nice Midland emblem above the tunnel entrance.

Today it’s just a siding, used as a carriage wash. …. Shame
I explained this feature to my colleague this morning at work, but he failed to be as amazed as myself, exclaiming "Brunel would have done that for breakfast!"

Do you think that if in the future the second route was re-layed through abbeydale they would bother with a feature like that in this day and age? or just expect passengers to walk over to platform 3 to get on the London train?
 

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Hope Valley
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Not a chance. I doubt that Networkrail will relay the lines, on the grounds of cost/value for money. (Hope I’m wrong). The best we can hope for is the reinstatement of a double line at Dore Station and some timetable and signal improvements.

SYPTE are pushing for Dore curve to be doubled, with Dore Station improvements – extra platform. A larger car park is also planned. The major hurdle is finance and a lack of interest from Networkrail.

A lot of resistance has come from the local Green Party. They don’t want commuters driving to the station, getting in the way of their 4x4’s, on the school run.

These are times of plenty, Networkrail don’t improve the network now, they never will. The next recession could be around the corner. Rail will quickly fall out of favour – decline in passenger numbers, track access charges and government (local and central) subsidies. Then the big axe will swing again.
 

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E = MC²
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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Whereabouts did the southern end of the drive-under tunnel emerge?
About 400 yards north of the Charlotte road bridge as far as I can tell, in the middle of the upper rail bed with one track on the right which goes straight into the station on the east side following the retaining wall closely all the way. This is the original Chesterfield UPline ( the line where trains going from sheffield to London would go ), exactly as it was when the extra lines were put in in 1900.

One track Chesterfield Down Line (From London) dissapears down the tunnel, on the west side two more tracks (manchester) go north straight into the station. West of that is another big load of rails which appear to be a goods yard where B&Q is now.

If you look here
Here
Just north above the red train at the bottom you see a big gap in between the rails, that's it :)

Now the red train is on the original Chesterfield up line and it is on its way south from sheffield.
On this section the only difference with the main lines from 1900 is that one line is missing, The drive under tunnel for trains approaching sheffield from London on the Chesterfield Up Line, which should be in the gap going down a cutting into the tunnel.

The track in the middle on this sattelite view was originally the Manchester Up line, and here it is unaltered, but now it is purely a second down line which merges into the single down line a bit further south behind Keyline builder's merchants just north of Havelock Bridge.
 

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Hope Valley
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couple of pic's of the burrowing junction from the mid 1960's


View from the station end -Down London line seen on far left - Currently used as a carriage wash. The old railway offices and the right.



View from the south, Manchester lines and Queens Road Goods on the left.

 

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E = MC²
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This pic is particularly welcome, I have seen pictures of sheffield railway in many books but I have never seen this important feature.


If it wasn't for the steam we could see even more of the sourrounding details, but nevertheless, the unmistakable sight of the Silver Blades Ice rink, and park hill flats in the distance, on the left puts the location in certain context with the surroundings.

The next time I have some time I want to go and try to recompose this picture today if the location is accesible.

There are so many bridges and details it is difficult for me to get an exact handle on the likely location.. And I am thinking it could be up some signal box or gantry which is no longer there.
 

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E = MC²
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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Might be taken from just to the right of the Charlotte Road bridge using a zoom?

I'm farely sure it would be unlikely that a zoom lens would have been used over 40 years ago to take a black and white picture of a section of railway. Even a telephoto lens would have been a seriously specialised gadget in those days and possibly unknown technology to a layman.

Also the composition of both photos suggests a fixed lens as peripheral features seem to be cropped on both. And the depth of field is very narrow and in the foreground.
 

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E = MC²
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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Back to my 1905 map. I have taken a photo of it and highlighted the rails using paint shop.
The red rail is the burrowing junction aka drive under.
Without highlighting the seperate rails it is extremely hard to seperate the rails because there are too many lines.
Yellow is the other London line going south,

And the purple and green ones are the manchester lines.

 

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The Real Robin Hood
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549 Posts
Don't know if anyone has seen but national express has lost the franchise for the east section of central trains and Midland mainline, and Stagecoach has won it. Sounds like possible good news, they are going to reduce journey times by 12 mins to London and have to spend £5million on Station improvements (not that Sheffield really needs any more now but the money will help with the up keep) plus with them already owning the tram may lead to a more intergrated service ie getting one ticket from meadowhall to London, or Middlewood to London. More of the details can be seen in this link
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6229246.stm
 

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The Real Robin Hood
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Yeah I guess it could be good news but stagecoach also have abit of a history with raising prices so i guess we should wait and see. Stagecoach co-own virgin trains though its a 49-51 split to virgin so it might be abit of a monopoly for them for Sheffield travel, National Express may lower there prices though and look to compete more for passengers now they have lost there monopoly.
 

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E = MC²
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I have a mate who Drives busses for stagecoach in our area and he says that the old busses he has to drive are frequently barely roadworthy with almost none existant breaks and they are regularly breaking down.
 

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<Witty comment here>
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3.5% above inflation each year. But, its fair enough if they'e going to upgrade the lines to high-speed lines, and it'll only effect walk-up fares really, you'll still get offers on advance tickets. And It'll see Megatrain (like Megabus) opened up to Sheffield. Potentially means You could go from Sheffield to Plymouth for £2 return, via London.
 
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