National Grid has continued its support for the Moseley Railway Trust by donating the final locomotive to operate in the Woodhead Tunnels. The 1993-built diesel locomotive was built by Alan Keef Ltd – works number 46 – and was used at the National Grid’s cable tunnels. These tunnels were built in the 1850s and were originally used by trans-Pennine mainline trains before the route was closed by British Rail in 1981. After the Second World War, British Rail trains used a more recent tunnel, allowing high-voltage cables to be laid into the Victorian bores and hence avoided spoiling the Pennine scenery with pylons.
The locomotive, fitted with a Deutz air-cooled engine, has already impressed Trust members with its ease of use. Initial assessments suggest that the installation of air brakes should be feasible, allowing the use of the locomotive on regular Apedale Valley Light Railway passenger trains. There are now a total of four ex-Woodhead tunnel locomotives at Apedale – a Hudson diesel, a pair of Clayton battery locomotives and now the Alan Keef locomotive.
Along with the locomotive, the rolling stock used in the tunnel has also been donated comprising a manrider and seven wagons. This give the Moseley Railway Trust the opportunity to display the complete train to visitors and run it as it was in industrial use on industrial train days at Apedale.
Phil Robinson, MRT Chairman said “We are again indebted to National Grid and their continued support of our work to develop the site and railway at Apedale. We are planning to unveil the locomotive and rolling stock to the public at our Locos from Leeds Gala. I accept that Woodhead is not in Leeds – but it’s in Yorkshire, so close enough!”.