Abandoned rail relic brought back to life

WORK to transform an abandoned former railway turntable on the Trans Pennine Trail is almost nearing completion thanks to a £45,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Dedicated volunteers set out on their mission to restore the Godley Turntable, in 2014 after decades of disuse left the Hyde site overgrown and all but forgotten.

The line was part of the Cheshire Lines network, built in the 1860’s, which was used mainly for the transport of freight, usually coal from Yorkshire to the power station at Fiddlers Ferry.

But the turntable itself was not built in the early 1930s as part of the planned electrification of the Manchester-Sheffield line, which was completed in 1954.

Pete Brocklehurst, Charlotte Brocklehurst, Peter Brocklehurst

The last known engine to use the turntable was in 1968 and in the 46 years since then, it had been slowly reclaimed by nature, erasing almost every trace of its existence.

Volunteer Charlotte Brocklehurst, whose family spearheaded the project, said: “When we first started, the site was a lonely place because it’s a dead end and not many people would walk that way.

“We were working with a group of volunteers in the area who knew about the turntable, and we felt very strongly that it was worth preserving because of its historic significance.

Godley Turntable Pre-Restoration

“So, every Monday for at least two years we would come down and clear as much of the overgrowth as possible, and around 2015 we started applying for grants to start the restoration.

“We managed to secure quite a bit of funding from various companies, but the main bulk came from the Heritage lottery Fund who gave us £45,000 to complete the work.”

Charlotte, 21, lives only five minutes away from the turntable in Godley and says that once the restoration is finished, she hopes to turn the site into a local point of interest.

She said: “I think what is so great about this project is that not many people know the history of this place, not even locals who have lived almost next door to it for many years.

“For example, during WWII a bomb actually landed on the banking just above the turntable. It was an incredible near-miss that could have easily wiped it out.

Godley Turntable Map

“I want this to be a place where people can visit and discover the significance of this historic site that is in their own village, and to just enjoy what we’ve created.

“The amount of work the team has put in these last seven years has been incredible, and we will continue to look after and maintain Godley Turntable so that people can enjoy it for many years to come.”

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