In 1845, a railway line between Manchester and Sheffield was opened via the Longdendale valley which traversed the northern tip of the Peak District. It initially became famous for its 3 mile long Woodhead tunnels and inspirational scenery. In 1954, the 41.5 mile line became one of the first in the United Kingdom to receive overhead electrification to aid heavy coal trains ascending the steep gradients. However, in 1970, all passenger operations along the line ceased and by July 1981 the final freight train had ascended its gradients. The line was official mothballed by British Rail, so by the mid-1980's, much of the track had been removed and turned into a cycle path. Today the line no longer exists east of Hadfield and its famous tunnels no longer carry trains but instead are home to power cables for the National Grid.
1500 Volts is an exploration of the lines legacy and what remains today. This work, a visual investigation, explores the barren and isolated landscape which is long devoid of the railway that carved it. 1500 Volts tells the story of something that is missing. Like an unsolved cold case, its facts remain elusive and the evidence of its existence is fast fading. 1500 Volts is an ongoing photographic based research project which works in collaboration with those who worked the line, those who tried to save it and those who keep its memory alive. This work forms the story of what came after the line was closed and explores what its legacy stands for.
In July 2018 1500 Volts won the Lancashire Arts Festival Award for Media (Photography).
Do you have an interest in the Woodhead route?
I'm looking for anyone willing to work with me on this project whether you're an artist, historian or just an interested party I want to hear from you and perhaps we can work together?
See the General Enquiries page for how you can get in touch.
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