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Report - Farleigh Down Tunnel, March 2013

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by Altair, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. Altair

    Altair Poking holes since '84
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    Farleigh Down Tunnel


    Visited with Atomic, Goonie and Non-member Rusty. Nothing much to say about this fairly long wander other than its a shame to see it so graffed up, so I'll shamelessly post some 'borrowed' history from the tinterweb and get on with some pictures.


    History

    During the 1930s, there was a recognition of a need to provide secure storage for munitions across the United Kingdom. The proposal was to create three Central Ammunition Depots (CAD): one in the north (Longtown, Cumbria); and one in the Midlands (Nesscliffe, Shropshire); and one in the south.

    The easily-hewn Bath stone, a form of lime stone, had created a number of large, horizontal, and relatively dry quarries around the Corsham. Monkton Farleigh quarry was renovated from the late 1930s by the Royal Engineers as one of the three major stockpiles.
    In November 1937 the Great Western Railway were contracted to build a 1,000 feet (300 m) long raised twin-loading platform at Shockerwick, with two sidings from the adjacent Bristol-London mainline branching off just outside the eastern entrance to the Box Tunnel. The War Office had built a narrow gauge wagon sorting yard. This was attached by a 1.25 miles (2.01 km) tunnel built by the Cementation Company, descending at a rate of 1:8.5 to the Central Ammunition Depot, housed in the former mine workings. The whole logistics operation was designed to cope with a maximum of 1,000 tonnes (1,100 tons) of ammunition a day.

    The narrow gauge trucks would descend from the platform to the tunnel, where a heavy-duty conveyor belt (the depot was either taking in ammunition or putting out, never both at the same time), would propel the ammunition directly to the appropriate storage gallery. The construction design meant that an explosive accident or detonation inside any one of the stores would not propagate throughout the ammunition storehouse. The conveyor belt, and the original cable-way used as a temporary installation while the tunel was being built, ran 24/7 for 30 days in the run-up to D-Day.

    CAD Monkton Farleigh closed at the end of hostilities, although was kept in an operational condition until the 1950s. The sidings were then cleared, and not used again until the mid-1980s when a museum opened for s short period on the site. Today the north end of the tunel is sealed by a concrete and rubble installation, while the former mine/CAD is used for secure commercial document storage.

    On with some pics;

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    Thanks for looking :thumb

     

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