Strange tunnel under embankment, local mystery, anyone shed some light?

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novusordo

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Hello everyone, I have just registered to ask a question that no one around my local area can answer, in fact it is a mystery.

We have a disused railway embankment with five arches built side by side, big enough for a lorry to fit through however the first & second of these arches has been partitioned in to three chambers and you have to crawl under to get in, but can stand-up in each of the three partitions but have to crawl through to get to the next partition. At the other side is a small exit that you have to crawl to get out of.

Can any of you railway enthusiasts let me know what this was built for?
 
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PHILIPE

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Hello everyone, I have just registered to ask a question that no one around my local area can answer, in fact it is a mystery.

We have a disused railway embankment with three tunnels side by side, big enough for a lorry to fit through however the first of the tunnels has been partitioned in to three chambers and you have to crawl under to get in, but can stand-up in each of the three partitions but have to crawl through to get to the next partition. At the other side is a small exit that you have to crawl to get out of.

Can any of you railway enthusiasts let me know what this was built for?

Where is this ?
Anyway, as a newbie, welcome to the Forum.
 

KNotts

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Is it the section of embankment between Bridgford Road, and Radcliffe Road?
They were originally flood arches before West Bridgford was developed. I read that the River Trent levels were altered with the building of Holme Lock and they became redundant. As for the partitioning, air raid shelter perhaps? just a guess there. Would be very interested to find out if anyone knows.
 

novusordo

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yes it is the section between those two roads.
That's interesting regarding flood arches, I assumed they were simply there for people, horse & carts to pass under, when the area was all farmland before 1890.
I also don't know why there are five tunnels in a row and not just the one?
 
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snowball

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I also don't know why there are three tunnels in a row and not just the one?
I don't know the site but it's not unusual to have multiple tunnels/bridges under a road or railway embankment in a flood plain. If the river floods on one side of the road or railway, you need a high capacity for water to flow underneath, otherwise the embankment could get washed away.
 

edwin_m

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There's a more modern example at Clifton road bridge, visible from the park and ride site (which is on the flood plain). There are several large concrete culverts under the A52.

There were probably more flood arches on the north side of Lady Bay Bridge and on either side of the Great Central's Trent crossing at Wilford, before these were all abolished.
 

snowball

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The ultimate extension of the idea is to have a viaduct instead of an embankent. When I looked at the HS2 plans I got the impression that it almost always uses viaducts in preference to embankments in river valleys.
 

novusordo

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i'm not sure though why there's three flood arches in an area that is around half a mile from the river. I understand the course of the river was different, but that was medieval period, it's been the same for atleast the past 200 years and the railway was constructed in 1870.

It seems strange that they went to such great lengths of work to build three large sized arches substantially constructed from bricks, why not just one flood arch? Especially since there doesn't seem to be any constructional requirement for them to be there, it looks like they could easily of simply carried on building-the embankment instead of creating these arches.

Also does anyone here know what the strange partitioned-tunnel could be? Someone said air raid shelter which is interesting. I reckon the tunnel could hold 15 people comfortably but they would all have to be standing and with very little space.


The old 1875 map i've green highlighted the section of interest where the three arches and strange partitioned tunnel exist.



Unfortunately the 1890 map is missing for this area but what is available shows the houses on the 1912 map blow, so it seems after just 10 years of the rail being build the surrounding farmland had been replaced with streets of houses the same as the next oldest available is the 1912 here...
 
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John Webb

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On the section of the 1875 map you posted, almost exactly east of the bridge of interest, is the Grantham Canal with what appears to be a short arm off it towards the west. Is it possible that there was once a branch arm extending westwards which the railway had to build a bridge over when they constructed the line? The branch then fell into disuse and the arm was filled in?
 

novusordo

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hi john i'm not talking about the bridge but the bit further down. if you look closely on the first map i highlighted the area of interest in a shade of green. this area is not a bridge, but three arches of equal size/proportions, with the first of the three featuring this down-right weird tunnel partition.
 

John Webb

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hi john i'm not talking about the bridge but the bit further down. if you look closely on the first map i highlighted the area of interest in a shade of green. this area is not a bridge, but three arches of equal size/proportions, with the first of the three featuring this down-right weird tunnel partition.
I probably defined the position on the canal rather badly, and therefore misled you! Running from your green-marked area almost North-East you come to what may be a stream with trees along it between the fields marked 25 and 33. These stop at what appears to be a 'bay' in the west side of the canal with a road bridge running over it. It was this 'bay' that looks like the start of a former arm and made me wonder if indeed there had been one.
 

D869

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In the Victorian era one of the bowlers at Trent Bridge had a very long run-up.
 

Dr_Paul

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The down viaduct leading from the Windsor lines at Wandsworth up to East Putney also has some odd features not unlike the one described here in Nottingham. Most of the arches are normal round ones, but a couple are bricked in with just a narrow entrance and (if I remember correctly) seem to be partitioned inside.
 

HowardGWR

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hi john i'm not talking about the bridge but the bit further down. if you look closely on the first map i highlighted the area of interest in a shade of green. this area is not a bridge, but three arches of equal size/proportions, with the first of the three featuring this down-right weird tunnel partition.
I took ages to locate this but with your maps I have. There are no Street View possibilities from either road so could you take a photo? It appears to be on private land, although the playing field is adjacent
 

edwin_m

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i'm not sure though why there's three flood arches in an area that is around half a mile from the river. I understand the course of the river was different, but that was medieval period, it's been the same for atleast the past 200 years and the railway was constructed in 1870.

The whole area is a flood plain. In 1948 West Bridgford flooded as far inland as about Eton Road, which is a lot further from the Trent than this bridge. However I do agree it doesn't look like a flood arch in the position shown.

It was this 'bay' that looks like the start of a former arm and made me wonder if indeed there had been one.

I think if there had been a canal arm into West Bridgford I would have heard something about it, having lived in the Nottingham area for nearly 30 years. It's possible that an arm was proposed when the canal was built and only got as far as the road bridge - I note a stream on the map which probably fed the canal, so it might just have been a question of building a slightly bigger bridge. Or there could just be a low-level bridge over the stream, with some kind of pond forming where the stream runs into the canal, with no intention of building an arm. However by the time of the railway in 1870 I can't help thinking the prospects of the canal being extended were exactly zero.

Before someone suggests it, the stream doesn't seem to run under the railway arches either. And there doesn't seem to be any need for an occupation bridge to connect the two fields that the railway severs, because the road bridges north and south would provide that access.

I will also try to get a look at this structure, but probably not for a few days.
 
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Trog

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Could the partitions under the bridge be designed to provide shelter for bats?
 

novusordo

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At last I have photos of this strange tunnel.
Anyone able to now identify what the heck this actually is?
the last photo shows the crawl entrance at the other side of the embankment. notice how the council have deliberately angled the security fence to keep access to this strange tunnel - why would they do that?





 

HowardGWR

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Thanks for taking the trouble with the pics. I do feel that an email to NR and / or NCC is the only way that we will find out what was intended. It is an interesting mystery and no mistake; do let us know if you find out.
 

novusordo

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Would you mind asking yourself as I'm not a rail enthusiast I just came here to ask you knowlegable folks what this tunnel could be.
 

John Webb

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It's very difficult to judge where the original ground level was, which may have made the crawlways/doorways significantly larger when they were first erected. It seems to be well-engineered. My opinions are that either it was done as an air-raid shelter - although few would have been able to use it - more likely it may have been done to strengthen the structure at some point in its life, but done in such a way as to still leave room for floodwater to flow through if need be.
 

kevjs

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Never even know such a thing existed, must have walked ontop and past it dozens of times over the last 12 years I've lived in Bridgford and never noticed anything - obviously buried in the undergrowth nowadays as I couldn't see anything this morning either!

However after having a walk alongside it I popped in the library and found one of them paper kindle's called "The Nottingham & Melton Railway 1872 - 2004" by "Colin Aldworth" which say's
"Underbridge 6"
West Bridgford was prone to flooding from the river Trent ,... in both 1932 and 1947 residents used the railway embankment as the only way to pass the flooded areas... because of a history of flooding a number of water arches were built during the inital construction under the lines embankment as it passed West Bridgford... the first are the five arches under the lines embankment ... adjacent to Fox Road..
....
It's believed the "Bridgford Brooke" used to run under these arches.



A quick scan doesn't offer up any details elsewhere of why they have been, partially, bricked up though.

West Bridgford Past by Geoffrey Oldfield has a map on the first page which labels that point as "M.P" too - OS says that's something called a "Mile Post Mooring Post"

Presumably the access is retained for the council to be able to perform inspections of it - one of the other books I was looking at mentioned the city council do a visual inspection of the old GCR tunnels from the Vic Centre to Carrinton every 15 years and a manhole cover exists in the Open University car park for such access.
 
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edwin_m

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On a large scale map, "M.P." next to a railway is simply a milepost, so not really relevant here. But I think kev's post otherwise supplies the answer.
 

kevjs

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Just realised why I couldn't see them today- looking at the map this morning the point of interest was half way, of course I interpreted this as half way across Bridgford Field, but it's at the north western corner isn't it - whoops, the northern bit now built up with housing.

The West Bridgford Past book I mentioned earlier has a photo from the 1947 floods which show the Tudor Cinema under river flood water - this is yet further from the river. Remember that the Trent does spill over rather far - it's rather strange when driving down the A453 and the Trent is all the way up to the road as I've experienced a couple of times in the last 15 years!
 

nottsnurse

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...one of the other books I was looking at mentioned the city council do a visual inspection of the old GCR tunnels from the Vic Centre to Carrinton every 15 years and a manhole cover exists in the Open University car park for such access.

I used to live directly above the GCR tunnel between Carrington and New Basford.

Always wondered just how far beneath our house it actually was.
 

novusordo

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@kevjs i was in WB library earlier today looking for the book you mentioned and the librarian said it was taken out by someone this morning - i'm assuming this is you?
There was another book by that went from 1870-1990, but I'm assuming the book you photographed above is the 1870-2004 one?

Whilst in the library I went through some other railway books relevant to the local area but found nothing about these arches.

Also the book mentioned 5 arches, but only three are visible, but yesterday I found the top of an arch that has been filled-in which is right next to the visible 3 arches

 

kevjs

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@kevjs i was in WB library earlier today looking for the book you mentioned and the librarian said it was taken out by someone this morning - i'm assuming this is you?
There was another book by that went from 1870-1990, but I'm assuming the book you photographed above is the 1870-2004 one?

That would indeed be me :lol: , and yeah it's the 2004 variant, looks like there are a couple at the city centre branch still (Floor 1 (Local Studies Library) and Oversize (Quarto) sections). Fascinating to see what all those little random stubs of different looking walls and embankments used to be back when my parents were kids...

Whilst in the library I went through some other railway books relevant to the local area but found nothing about these arches.

Also the book mentioned 5 arches, but only three are visible, but yesterday I found the top of an arch that has been filled-in which is right next to the visible 3 arches


I'd had a quick scan of the other books too but saw nothing.
 
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