Piercing the Pennines: Heroic Railways Linking Lancashire & Yorkshire (Great Northern)

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Piercing the Pennines is a portrayal of how the industrial revolution connected the counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire, previously separated by the Pennines, through the rising use of tunnels. As well as construction of the tunnels the book also looks at the men who were involved in the task of producing them, from the engineers down to the navvies.

The author, David Joy, initially looks at the development of the canal system in the area. Under the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater a series of tunnels were constructed to enable boats to move coal from his mines near Manchester; this acted as a catalyst in the advancement of tunnels, thus enabling canals to take a more direct route. Opened in 1796 Foulridge Tunnel on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal was 1,630 yards long; in the same year work started on Standedge Tunnel on the Huddersfield Canal, this was 3 miles 168 yards long and took 15 years to accomplish.

Leading on from this came the realisation that this technique could also be applied to the railways. The linking of Lancashire and Yorkshire was eventually achieved by the construction of a series of remarkable tunnels aiming to connect Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield. On completion, in the 1840s, three of the tunnels, Totley, Woodhead and Standedge were sequentially the longest railway tunnels in the world, all over 3 miles in length. Due to the tunnels having very different features, David Joy, has assigned a chapter to each one, beginning with the construction of the Summit Tunnel.

112 colour and black & white illustrations, ranging from period lithographs through to present-day photographs. Hardback. 128 Pages.

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