Woodhead electrics

Dear RMM,

I have just had chance to read the article on the Woodhead route, and always find Ian Lamb’s
articles of interest. I was also an ‘Eagle’ boy, and equally fascinated by the exploded diagrams. We also had three annuals from the 1950s, one of which had an article on the Bennie railplane, complete with drawings.

In 1964 my father and I went to Sheffield on an overnight train and took a morning train to Manchester. We had an EM2 and five or six Thompson coaches. The day was grey and drizzling as we climbed to Woodhead, worse as we left the tunnel. Looking back at the two old bores (sic!) one at least was open to the elements and you could see lights all the way in.

The locomotives worked in rotation, one sitting out of the station in a headshunt and coming on to the tail of the train just arrived. After the train had departed the released engine ran out to the headshunt to await the next one. I saw all of the EM2s that day.

We also visited Reddish shed where we saw quite a number of the EM1s. One was already on the scrap line, the body lying on the ground, next to its bogies. The EM2s that were spare were all there.

I still have an old Trix EM1 (pictured) but to HO scale, though the bogies look as if they are to OO gauge. I also had a Tri-ang CKD EM2 in blue but sold it long ago. It was a tragedy when the line was closed.

Ken McKee, via email

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