The first sod was cut by Charles Brook of Meltham Hall and is described in this blog post.
Cutting the First Sod of a Line of Bails from Huddersfield to Meltham.
Yesterday, the ceremony of cutting the first sod of the Huddersfield and Meltham Railway was performed by Mr. Chas. Brook, jun,, in a field near Meltham Mills, on the estate of Mr. Charles Brook, sen,, of Healey House. The line will be about 3½ miles long, and branches out of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company’s line to Penistone, a little past Lookwood station, passing behind the residence of Mr, Bentley Shaw, of Lockwood. The first heavy work on the line is a cutting 40 ft. deep and half a mile long, and this is followed by a tunnel through rook 210 yards long, which is succeeded by two embankments across “the big valley” (Netherton) of 80 feet and 60 feet high. A tunnel 335 yards long conveys the line beneath the village of Netherton, where there is to be a station, and after a short cutting there will be an embankment 20 feet high and half a mile long. Then comes another short tunnel, followed by a cutting 25 feet deep and one-third of a mile in length, and then an embankment 20 feet high and half a mile long, in the middle of which will be an askew bridge, of 36 feet span, over the Meltham and Lookwood Turnpike road. A series of short embankments and cuttings carries the line on to Meltham where it terminates, but about a mile from its close there will be a short branch to Meltham Mills. The heaviest gradient is 1 in 60, and a portion of the line is level. The line was surveyed by Mr. Perring, of Manchester, and will be constructed by Messrs. Barnes and Beckett, of that city — Mr. Brown being the engineer — and it has to be finished before June, 1866. In spite of the heavy fall of rain, which caused the proceedings to be brief, a large number of spectators assembled, and amongst those present were Mr. Charles Brook, jun., Mr. J.W. Carlile, Thickhollins ; Mr. J. Wrigley, Netherton ; Mr. Edward Brook, Benthouse ; the Rev. T. Thomas, Mr. Edwin Eastwood, Meltham ; Mr. Haigh, Mr. J. Taylor, Golcar ; and others. Mr. J. Wrigley presented Mr. C. Brook, jun., with a spade suitably inscribed, and with it Mr. Brook cut three sods, wheeled them to the edge of a platform prepared for that purpose, and emptied them out of the barrow as though to form part of an embankment, amidst the cheers of the spectators. He then briefly adverted to the advantages that the manufacturers and the inhabitants generally of the district would derive from the formation of the line, and said he felt sure their gratitude was due to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company for taking the matter up. (Cheers.) Cheers were then given for the new line, Mr. Brook, the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company directors, the contractors, and the Queen, after which the assembly dispersed in a very damp state, inconsequence of the rain which fell without intermission.