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New museum to be created to mark historic railway line

A new museum is to be created to mark the history of a railway line linking Manchester and Sheffield through the Peak District.
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A new museum is to be created to mark the history of a railway line linking Manchester and Sheffield through the Peak District.

Guide Bridge Railway Station

Plans have been submitted to Tameside council for the creation of a museum at Guide Bridge Railway Station in a former Network Rail office building.

Woodhead Railway Heritage Group

The project, by the Woodhead Railway Heritage Group, aims to highlight the history of the Woodhead Railway Line that ran between Manchester and Sheffield, and which the application states was the first overhead electric railway in the UK.

The line, which passes through the northern Peak District through the Woodhead Tunnels, was first opened in 1845. It was electrified in 1953 and closed between Hadfield and Penistone in 1981.

Services still run from Manchester to Glossop and Hadfield, and trains also run from Sheffield to Penistone via a different route, continuing onwards to Huddersfield.

Guide Bridge Station

The building proposed for a change of use was formerly utilised by the signalling and track maintenance team at Guide Bridge Station, but it has been empty since 2013.

Network Rail has been carrying out renovation work on the building, off Guide Lane in Audenshaw, since 2020 to enable its use for the museum project.

“The museum will be open to the general public and become a tourist attraction for the local area and community having displays of artefacts, information on the history of the Woodhead Railway and being able to offer light refreshments to visitors,” the planning application states.

There is no parking provision included within the application as the group says it encourages visitors to the museum to visit using public transport.

The Woodhead Railway Heritage Group, which was established in 2016, is also raising funds for the renovation of the last surviving 506 cab which they hope will eventually be displayed at the new museum.

A decision on the plans is expected to be made by the local authority by mid-September.

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