Long tunnels with no ventilation shafts/vice versa

Philip

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Are there any rail tunnels in the UK which are long and don't have any ventilation shafts that people know about? Or any that are fairly short but have a large number of them?
 
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Taunton

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Combe Down on the S&D 1 in 50 climb out of Bath was a mile long, no shafts, single track, and very tight. Conditions on the second steam loco of a double-header, especially by Saturday afternoon in summer when the Bournemouth holiday trains were pretty continuous, were apparently appalling - the crew used set the regulator, to hold wet handkerchiefs over their faces for the duration. It's still in use, but nowadays as a (lit) bicycle path under the hill.
 

Welly

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The new Woodhead had no ventilation shafts as they were not needed!
 
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I guess long tunnels under water, such as the Channel and Severn tunnels, don’t have ventilation shafts
 

jfowkes

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The Glenfield tunnel in Leicester has a lot of vent shafts relative to its length. 10 shafts (I think) over roughly a mile.

It was a very early tunnel (opened 1832) so they didn't really know how many shafts were required. At least, that's the story I've heard.
 

gimmea50anyday

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Combe Down on the S&D 1 in 50 climb out of Bath was a mile long, no shafts, single track, and very tight. Conditions on the second steam loco of a double-header, especially by Saturday afternoon in summer when the Bournemouth holiday trains were pretty continuous, were apparently appalling - the crew used set the regulator, to hold wet handkerchiefs over their faces for the duration. It's still in use, but nowadays as a (lit) bicycle path under the hill.

this was pretty much the case with both of the old woodhead bores and the old Standedge bores. both were single bore tunnels with no ventilation shafts and no cross passages although Standedge has the central cathedral and one of the bores has some cross pasages to the newer double track tunnel and the canal tunnel. Not sure on Standedge but woodhead had a signalbox within the tunnel too which no doubt the conditions would have been horrendous when steam trains were passing through
 

Mcr Warrior

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...woodhead had a signalbox within the tunnel too which no doubt the conditions would have been horrendous when steam trains were passing through
Didn't last all that long before subsequently being closed despite shorter working hours and a higher rate of pay.
 

Taunton

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"Ventilation" shafts were commonly actually left over from the tunnel construction, when it was found more economical to sink vertical shafts down and then dig both ways to meet the next working. Just coming from either end takes much longer. There are all sorts of engineering calculations for the most efficient way to bore it, depth from the surface, access for sinking shafts, etc.
 

Lucan

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Combe Down on the S&D 1 in 50 climb out of Bath was a mile long, no shafts, single track, and very tight. Conditions on the second steam loco of a double-header.... were apparently appalling
In 1929 the driver and fireman of a north bound goods train passed out (although on the down gradient), with the result that it crashed by derailing on the curve into Bath. Both men died.

https://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/docsummary.php?docID=1999

The new Woodhead had no ventilation shafts as they were not needed!
Nor the LU tube tunnels. OTOH, the cut and cover tunnels, made when the Met and District trains were still steam hauled, had very frequent "vent shafts". The stations were generally open to the sky, and also where the lines went under what were previously people's back gardens etc, to save the cost of covering. I suppose the land owners got compensation.
 
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jfowkes

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I guess long tunnels under water, such as the Channel and Severn tunnels, don’t have ventilation shafts

If the two running bores of the Channel Tunnel are considered as seperate tunnels, then the piston relief ducts sort of count as ventilation shafts I suppose. If you squint at them.
 

Western 52

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My grandfather was a driver through the old Rhondda Tunnel in the 1940s. He told stories of having to wrap a wet towel around your head and getting down low on the footplate to breathe. The tunnel was single bore and 3443 yards long. Just one ventilation shaft close to one end!
 

Taunton

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The S&D Combe Down tunnel had some of the characteristics of the narrow "Hastings gauge" tunnels, in that it was originally built single line to standard dimensions, intended to be unlined through the Bath Stone, but later due to water penetration was lined with brick down to the minimum dimensions possible. Like a number of tunnels with smoke difficulties it was at right-angles to the prevailing wind.

In a moment of crayonista euphoria I once designed a replacement joint double track tunnel shared by the S&D and the GWR from Bath, turning due south to Midford/Limpley Stoke, eliminating both the Midford single track tunnel and bottleneck on the S&D, and the roundabout route of the GWR following the river, which at one point has Bath to Westbury trains running due north and taking several extra miles.
 

Rob F

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this was pretty much the case with both of the old woodhead bores and the old Standedge bores. both were single bore tunnels with no ventilation shafts and no cross passages although Standedge has the central cathedral and one of the bores has some cross pasages to the newer double track tunnel and the canal tunnel. Not sure on Standedge but woodhead had a signalbox within the tunnel too which no doubt the conditions would have been horrendous when steam trains were passing through
According to NLS maps, there were at least four ventilation shafts for the old Woodhead tunnels and they are still visible on the moors in the aerial imagery.
 

Tomnick

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this was pretty much the case with both of the old woodhead bores and the old Standedge bores. both were single bore tunnels with no ventilation shafts and no cross passages although Standedge has the central cathedral and one of the bores has some cross pasages to the newer double track tunnel and the canal tunnel. Not sure on Standedge but woodhead had a signalbox within the tunnel too which no doubt the conditions would have been horrendous when steam trains were passing through
Standedge has numerous cross-passages between all four bores, if I'm not mistaken, and a number of shafts too. Similarly for Woodhead - there were a number (24 or 26?) cross-passages and a few shafts. The (fairly rubbish, sorry!) photos below are of one of the shafts between the original Woodhead bores. It was, by all accounts, a pretty horrendous place despite those shafts.

Woodhead shaft.jpgWoodhead shaft 2.jpg

Lunchtime in the former signal box (actually the next cross-passage along, but, to the best of my knowledge, similar in proportions)...

Woodhead crosspassage.jpg
 

gimmea50anyday

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that being the case that wasnt my understanding. still conditions would have been unbearable given that they were single bores.I am aware of the cross passages in standedge as I believe the canal helped with construction but then when both these tunnels were just one single bore before the second single bore was built I can only imagine how bad the conditions would have been for the staff working the train.

Im hoping I can get on the next TPE staff tour of standedge when they start back up
 
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In a moment of crayonista euphoria I once designed a replacement joint double track tunnel shared by the S&D and the GWR from Bath, turning due south to Midford/Limpley Stoke, eliminating both the Midford single track tunnel and bottleneck on the S&D, and the roundabout route of the GWR following the river, which at one point has Bath to Westbury trains running due north and taking several extra miles.
Not Crayonista at all. There were plans to join the S&D up with the GW south of Bath, then build a short connecting line across the fields west of Bath to regain the MR route.
 

Philip

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How about Box and Strood tunnels? Do these have shafts?

Summit Tunnel and Kilsby both have quite a few looking at the aerial view, given their length.
 

Ianno87

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Summit Tunnel and Kilsby both have quite a few looking at the aerial view, given their length.

Both indeed do. Summit tunnel has a famous photo of smoke/flames pouring out of a shaft during the 1984 fire.
 

hermit

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Ventnor tunnel was three-quarters of a mile, with no shafts. I remember smoke pouring out at the station end.
It‘s still there, and carries the town‘s water supply. I wonder whether anyone’s worked out if the new Class 483’s would get through it.
 

Lucan

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Summit Tunnel and Kilsby both have quite a few looking at the aerial view,
Kilsby is famous for the size of its vent shafts, the full double track width and more. You are practically in the open for a moment as you pass under, or rather through, them. The shafts were refurbished a few years ago.

 

Mikey C

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In 1929 the driver and fireman of a north bound goods train passed out (although on the down gradient), with the result that it crashed by derailing on the curve into Bath. Both men died.

https://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/docsummary.php?docID=1999


Nor the LU tube tunnels. OTOH, the cut and cover tunnels, made when the Met and District trains were still steam hauled, had very frequent "vent shafts". The stations were generally open to the sky, and also where the lines went under what were previously people's back gardens etc, to save the cost of covering. I suppose the land owners got compensation.
The deep level London Underground lines do have ventilation shafts, they help remove some of the heat from the system. This article includes other tunnels such as road tunnels and sewers, but the comments mention other tube ventilation shafts


 

Wilts Wanderer

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Standedge has numerous cross-passages between all four bores, if I'm not mistaken, and a number of shafts too. Similarly for Woodhead - there were a number (24 or 26?) cross-passages and a few shafts. The (fairly rubbish, sorry!) photos below are of one of the shafts between the original Woodhead bores. It was, by all accounts, a pretty horrendous place despite those shafts.

View attachment 94664View attachment 94663

Lunchtime in the former signal box (actually the next cross-passage along, but, to the best of my knowledge, similar in proportions)...

View attachment 94662

From memory that signal box was not open for many years, and more than one signalman went mad working in what must have been utterly appalling conditions.
 

Elecman

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Kilsby is famous for the size of its vent shafts, the full double track width and more. You are practically in the open for a moment as you pass under, or rather through, them. The shafts were refurbished a few years ago.

Only 1 shaft has been refurbished
 

jopsuk

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In 1929 the driver and fireman of a north bound goods train passed out (although on the down gradient), with the result that it crashed by derailing on the curve into Bath. Both men died.

https://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/docsummary.php?docID=1999


Nor the LU tube tunnels. OTOH, the cut and cover tunnels, made when the Met and District trains were still steam hauled, had very frequent "vent shafts". The stations were generally open to the sky, and also where the lines went under what were previously people's back gardens etc, to save the cost of covering. I suppose the land owners got compensation.
the Victoria Line, for example, definitely has ventilation shafts
 

Sean Emmett

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The Arlberg Tunnel in Austria is 10.65 km (6.6 miles) without any ventilation shafts. A real problem in the days of steam. IIRC there was a fatality due to asphyxiation, as at Combe Down.
 

IWSR Steve

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Ventnor tunnel was three-quarters of a mile, with no shafts. I remember smoke pouring out at the station end.
It‘s still there, and carries the town‘s water supply. I wonder whether anyone’s worked out if the new Class 483’s would get through it.
Ventnor tunnel had two ventilation shafts. You can still see both, and the spoil heaps left over from the construction.
 

hermit

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Ventnor tunnel had two ventilation shafts. You can still see both, and the spoil heaps left over from the construction.
Thanks for the correction, and apologies for getting it wrong - I thought I knew the downs pretty well. I’ll be up there looking for them!
My recollection is that going through the tunnel was still a very smoky experience.
 

Metal_gee_man

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The North downs tunnel / Blue Bell Hill tunnel on HS1 don't have ventilation shafts, due to the huge amount of chalk, the AOANB above meant the tunnels are much wider and higher than normally required due to the shock waves of potentially 2 train with a closing speed of 326mph. At 2 miles long and the deepest UK tunnel when built, it was an engineering feat for a set of circumstances set.

It's also been said that trains don't meet/aren't timetabled together in the tunnel due to the shockwaves.
 

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