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Report - Ashby Railway Tunnel. Ashby De La Zouch July 2015

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by ACID- REFLUX, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    History courtesy of Forgotten relics, top site :thumb

    Ashby Tunnel was originally opened as a tunnel in 1804, As a cheaper way of connecting the Coventry canal from Bedworth to mining districts around Moira, Leicestershire than extending the Canal.

    Work on the tunnels cutting was authorised in 1799 and It was a requirement that the tunnel's walls at the sides must be a minimum of 18" thick, the arch 13" and the invert 9". The width of the tunnel was also required to be 11 feet wide. Traffic first passed through the tunnel in late 1802. Two years later, the possibility of creating a shaft to provide more light in the tunnel was looked into but thats as far as it went.

    In 1845 the Midland Railway came along, looking to remove any possible competitors from the Leicestershire coalfields, and bought the Ashby canal for @£110,000 (roughly @£12,000,000 in todays money). They immediately worked towards building a line from Swannington and Leicester, at Coalville, through Moira to the newly acquired Birmingham-Derby route at Burton upon Trent. There was a clause however, "keep the canal intact and in good repair for the purposes of trade until the completion of the railway and as long after as may be deemed expedient". After 20 years, The Midland obtained an Act to extend its Worthington branch into Ashby-de-la-Zouch where it would meet up with the Leicester-Burton line. The majority of this was laid on the track bed of the Cloud Hill Tramway, only coming away from the tramway in places where they needed to realign the line to ease curvature. The tunnel was rebored to be able to have a standard gauge line to run through it. As well as widening the tunnel, the workmen shortened the tunnel at its western end. When it reopened as a rail link, it was just 308 yards long.


    The section of track from New Lount Colliery to Ashby-de-la-Zouch, passing through the tunnel, lost its usual traffic prior to the second world war but used by the Army. The route returned to the London Midland Scotland Railway (LMS) on 1st January 1945 but traffic didn"t return. The last train through the tunnel looks as though it was a rail tour on 28th June 1952 and the tunnel had its second official closure on 9th may 1955.

    A gradient of 1:355, falling to the west, the tunnel is straight with a ˜horse-shoe profile. The west portal is land-filled, possibly in the 80s when a dairy was built requiring the embankment to be dismantled. Water coming into the tunnel has been a problem right through its history. That was evident on the visit, very evident. There were weep holes bored at the bottom, whilst the tunnel was in use, to deal with this problem. Although the tracks being long gone, indentations from the sleepers are still apparent.

    I found myself at a lost end one Sunday afternoon in the Derby area and decided to actually visit another one of the old Railway Tunnels i"ve had on my list for ages, and here it is :)

    Nothing noteworthy about the visit apart from over attentive not very happy Farmers & unlike West Yorkshire Railway Tunnels there"s not a multitude of dangerous security defences preventing access....just a block wall at the Eastern Portal that"s er had attention :)
    Unlike previous reports the tunnel was mostly dry (for an old railway tunnel at least :) a slight mist issue @ halfway but nothing major. This must be the first time my gait actually matched the distance between the remaining mounds of ballast from between the sleepers which was nice for a change. Unfortunately there"s limited colours inside ( needs a few more years of water ingress :)

    As i"d exhausted my new Torch these were lit via the Lenser Headtorch and a P7.2 FYI

    Enjoy fellow Tunnel fans :thumb

    Eastern Tunnel Portal
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    Behind the retaining wall is the spoil, reaching almost to the top of the arch, but fully filled in beyond. I always feel sort of sad when a Tunnels lasted over 100 years only to be partially filled in :(

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    #1 ACID- REFLUX, Jul 22, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015

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  2. The Shepshed Diamondback

    The Shepshed Diamondback Slithering down a drain near you
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    Fantastic pics, the colours look great.
     
  3. stranton

    stranton subterranean explorer
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    very nice Mate,
    liking the red bricks alot easier too photograph than the black soot covered variety. :thumb
     
  4. KM_Punk

    KM_Punk Muppet
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    Cracking report :thumb
    Looks dry in there, it was a wellie job.
     
  5. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Cheers mate
    Not the best but not the worst i"ve seen
     
  6. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Yeah, but you"d still have struggled mate :D
     
  7. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    I"m not feeling it myself TBH but cheers

    Waders purely for the wet Rapeseed field & the Nettles it turned out ;)

    Like the Canal history of the Tunnel, makes a nice change.
     
  8. purplesmudger

    purplesmudger 28DL Full Member
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    Really nice pics! What model lenser headtorch you got?
     
  9. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Cheers
    It's the Lenses H14r.2 rechargeable one . There's a link to it in the HIGH end Torch thread I did that died a death the other week . Up to 850 Lumens depending on which power supply you use 18650 (supplied battery pack) or lose 18650 s or AAs or CR 123s the choice is yours .

    Beats purely using a dedicated battery pack as you're stuffed once it dies . Now there's no excuse for being without some kind battery to drive it.

    I should add the non rechargeable H14 is a lower output model @500L .and lots cheaper and not as flexible.

    Edit https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&r...1_30gZGWjUQT4aOVg&sig2=D2tw9poCzCBgXlc7KO2J0A
     
    #9 ACID- REFLUX, Jul 23, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2015
  10. Will Knot

    Will Knot 28DL Regular User
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    Very nice indeed that mate :thumb....like the second to last piccy....looks like a train heading towards you :eek:
     
    NoirLune likes this.
  11. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Cheers Will, yeah it does a bit doesn't it ;)

    Had that happen in Liverpool, bit of a shock when you've been told the tunnels dead and a couple of units pull in as your stood there doing long exposure shots & they turn the train lights on :)

    Thought I'd leave the colour as shot with the reflected greenery from the cutting vegetation bleeding get through.
     
  12. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Cheers Will
    Yeah it does look that way a little bit. Had that happen in Liverpool. Bit of a shock when you've been told you're in a dead tunnel & a couple of units pull into it as you're stood there doing long exposure shots ,then they turn the lights on lol

    Thought I'd leave the natural colours shine through from the greenery of the overgrown cutting.
     
  13. purplesmudger

    purplesmudger 28DL Full Member
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    Cheers ACID-REFLUX for all the info :thumb-sounds good- will see what the wallet can stretch to! How many hours do you generally get from each charge?
     
    #13 purplesmudger, Jul 23, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015
  14. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Good question it depends as I use it on Turbo mode which is the 850 lumens a lot of the time and as the battery packs only a 2200mah one it has limited life on turbo before it drops down to high or low which can be adjusted by a rotary switch on the battery housing.
    I don't really know the time (it does state something in the specs) but as I carry multiple batteries as soon as I notice a reduced output I change them .
    The ideal ones would be some decent 3400mah ones but at @£20 each it's an expensive upgrade.
    I use rechargeable AAs once I've tired the 18650 pack but that's only because I have loads.

    You can pick one up off Ebay for @£90 usually @£120+ or wait for a private seller to turn up as happened 2 weeks ago @£60 I nearly got one for a back up .

    Some people don't like head torches but you can add the longer lead it comes with and use it as a hand or remote torch also .
    depends what your needs are ? A Lenses P7. 2 is enough for most people and interiors of buildings etc even some tunnels if if you do very long exposure which is what I do.

    or get one of the Nitecore TM series which is what I've just added to the collection
     
  15. chrisnd

    chrisnd 28DL Member
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    Nicely done. Unfortunately I have to point out you are wrong about it having been a canal tunnel. The Ashby Canal never reached Ashby - it only ever got as far as Spring Cottage near Moira Baths (aka Conkers!). The original terminal basin at spring cottage is still in water whereas a new one has been constructed at Conkers. You are right in that tramways completed the routes onward from the canal (in several places, not just at Spring Cottage) but both Ashby Tunnel and the onwards route to Ticknall were built as tramways until part was converted to standard gauge as you describe.

    As an aside, the only canal tunnel that was converted to a railway that springs to mind is Strood tunnel in Kent - originally built for the Thames * Medway Canal.

    HTH. Chris.
     
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