What is the Longest Disused Railway Tunnel in UK

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by Mutant Lemming, 2 May 2015.

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  1. Mutant Lemming

    Mutant Lemming Established Member

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    What is the Longest Disused Railway Tunnel that hasn't been blocked up, filled in or used by something else ?

    (ones, which, if given permission one could walk the length of)
     
  2. TheEdge

    TheEdge Established Member

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    Woodhead? Not sure off the top of my head which is the longest bore. I think one of the steam tunnel bores is now technically abandoned and unused.
     
    Last edited: 2 May 2015
  3. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    Lots of candidates, myself included.:lol:
     
  4. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Might I suggest the "Forgotten Relics of an Enterprising Age" website. (Sorry - can't post the link as I'm in the pub).

    This ranks the disused tunnels in order of length.

    As I recall, one of the Woodhead tunnels is indeed the longest although I can't remember which (the old and new tunnels are different Lengths).
     
  5. Ash Bridge

    Ash Bridge Established Member

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    Are there not closed bores at Standedge?
     
  6. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    Here's the link: http://www.forgottenrelics.co.uk/tunnels/database/index.html
    Woodhead New (1954) is 4 yards longer than Standedge, but the two old tunnels are shorter by 40 yards.
    However, I think the Woodhead bores are now "unusable", whereas the two spare Standedge bores could be reused.
     
  7. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    There are. Checking Forgotten Relics it appears that Woodhead New is the longest, followed by the disused Standedge tunnels, followed by the old Woodhead tunnels.
     
  8. Mutant Lemming

    Mutant Lemming Established Member

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    Sorry, but all the Woodhead bores are in use now. I did manage to walk the 'new' tunnel back in the early 80s before it got caged in. I don't think the National Grid allow anyone not on official business access it now though.
    I have walked the 322 yards Kelmarsh tunnel (open to all) but am sure there are some longer ones that can be accessed with permission/consent.

    Torches were obvious - but in hindsight we would have took some waterproofs with us for Woodhead.
     
    Last edited: 2 May 2015
  9. Tomnick

    Tomnick Established Member

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    The old bores at Woodhead are no longer in use, or at the very least are in the process of being taken out of use. The electricity cables were all transferred to the new bore quite some time ago now, and the plan was to take everything out of the old bores and seal them up - they really are in a poor state in places, despite a lot of investment in recent years.
     
  10. Joseph_Locke

    Joseph_Locke Established Member

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    Surely the Channel Tunnel counts every so often? :D
     
  11. Philip Elliott

    Philip Elliott Member

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    Catesby tunnel at 3,000 yards must be in the top 10.
     
  12. GRALISTAIR

    GRALISTAIR Established Member

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    Absolutely fascinating link thanks.
     
  13. Doctor Fegg

    Doctor Fegg Member

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    At least one of the "disused" Standedge bores is still used - as emergency/maintenance access to the adjacent canal tunnel.
     
  14. Old Hill Bank

    Old Hill Bank Member

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    I guess there are lots of tunnels that exist but how many could be re-opened. Woodhead gets a lot of mentions anytime rail re-openings are on the agenda, I'm for Dudley.
     
  15. PHILIPE

    PHILIPE Established Member

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    Here in Wales, the longest blocked up is at the moment undergoing survey re it's re-opening as a cycle route. This is between Blaencwm and Blaenrhondda
    on the old route from Treherbert through the Afan Valley,
     
  16. railjock

    railjock Member

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    No mention of Broomieknowe. :)
     
  17. Ploughman

    Ploughman Established Member

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    More likely to be used by Network Rail and contractors working on the railway in the tunnel due to the available cross passages that give access to the main tunnel.
    On major relay work a one way system was set up with selected vehicles only parked in the tunnel and a shuttle back to the main vehicle park at either end of the tunnel.
    The "Cathedral" in the centre of the tunnels allowing a short circuit to turn round.

    The canal is actually below and between the Running and disused Down tunnels.
     
  18. gazthomas

    gazthomas Established Member

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    I guess I'm late to the party, but I would think it was Woodhead
     
  19. Weary Walker

    Weary Walker Member

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    I've been on a trip through the Standedge Canal tunnel on one of the occasional trips run by the visitor centre at Marsden. As we went through a transit was tracking us and checking we made each point from the next tunnel as part of the safety procedures. I recall the guide saying they had special permission to ignore the one way system and use the tunnel nearest the canal in both directions.
     
  20. johnnychips

    johnnychips Established Member

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    The Monsal Trail in Derbyshire allows walking or cycling through, I think, four tunnels without any permission needed. I think the longest is Chee Tor No 1, but it's not that long.
     
  21. TheEdge

    TheEdge Established Member

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    The issue really is for the most part you are looking a Victorian engineering which for the most part has been either unmaintained or just had the minimum to stop them from totally caving in since the 1950s or 60s.

    If they've not totally collapsed (not sure how many have) then the lining is giving way or warped or small collapses in places. Most are flooded to some extent. Then there are the ones which have either been entirely buried at both ends, backfilled at one end or are generally full of rubbish or debris.

    I've only gone into a few open tunnels and its obvious that they are not doing well.
     
  22. Old Yard Dog

    Old Yard Dog Member

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    The old tunnel between Queensbury and Halifax (two miles two furlongs and six chains long) was so deep that Cambridge University installed seismometers in the 1970's to detect distant earthquakes.
     
  23. snowball

    snowball Established Member

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    I think the Cosmic Ray Group of Leeds University Physics Department used to have detectors in the 1950s-vintage bore at Woodhead.

    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---

    At one stage the Northern Hub proposals included reopening at least one, I think both, of the old bores at Standedge to allow overtaking. After electrification was authorised they decided it was unnecessary. However the latest delays to the electrification programme seem to be partly because they are looking again at capacity requirements, so maybe the idea is not totally dead.
     
    Last edited: 3 May 2015
  24. Pigeon

    Pigeon Member

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    The original City & South London tube tunnels still exist from King William Street to Borough; one of them has been severed at an intermediate point by recent construction, but the other hasn't.

    There is a pretty long stretch of disused Jubilee Line tunnel from Green Park to Charing Cross and on nearly to Aldwych.

    And there is the Post Office tube, of course...
     
  25. dysonsphere

    dysonsphere Member

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    The jubilee track to Charing cross can still be used in an emergancy and is also available for filming as is the Aldwaych branch
     
  26. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    I assumed the OP meant not in railway use!
     
  27. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    The Post Office tube is in limited use and there are plans to open it up as a tourist attraction of sorts.
     
  28. Mutant Lemming

    Mutant Lemming Established Member

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  29. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    The emergency access is primarily for safety reasons for the canal tunnel, though I don't doubt that NR or their contractors also make use of it. The canal tunnel is below all the railway tunnels, but some of the cross-passages also serve the canal tunnel. Every year or two, West Yorkshire Fire Service carry out drills which involves driving an appliance down the rescue tunnel, turning round in the "Cathedral".
     
    Last edited: 3 May 2015
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