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Report - Queensbury Tunnel - Queensbury - Dec 2012

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by The Lone Ranger, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
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    Queensbury Tunnel – Queensbury

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    History (Plagiarised from phill. d and Black)

    Queensbury tunnel (2501yds) is one of the longest and deepest railway tunnels in England. It was on the G.N.R line serving the Northern industrial towns of Bradford, Halifax & Keighley, and was built in 1879, passenger services ceased on the 28th May 1956.
    Running from Clayton (North portal) to Holmfield (South portal) it passes beneath the village of Queensbury, famous for the Black Dyke Brass Band.
    There are 5 air shafts (all now capped), air shaft no 3 is the deepest at 379 feet. The north portal is in poor condition with crumbling masonry, water is seeping through the tunnel lining at the north end and all the 5 air shafts.
    The South portal again is fully under water, it wasn't damned on purpose. The 1033 yard cutting at Strines reaching a depth of 59 feet, has been filled in with debris except for the last 100 yds towards the tunnel. With the tunnel been on a 1/100 gradient towards Strines, the filled in cutting acts as a dam. Resulting in the water submerging the portal and backing 1/2 mile in the tunnel.
    B.R.B (British Railway board) sold the land on sometime after the line closed. They often try sell on as much land as possible, but are still responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of all bridges, viaducts, and tunnels though.
    The new land owner seems to be a farmer/building contractor type. It’s not known where all the landfill came from, there are some huge boulders there, but whatever, it's from the business he runs, he's used the cutting for the landfill. Obviously over the years the water seeping in the tunnel (which runs downhill) has nowhere to go, it just gets deeper.
    He was told by Network rail to pump out the cutting because they needed to do maintenance work in there, which he had attempted earlier this year. He was pretty pissed off about it too, he had to cover all the costs as well. But obviously he was fighting a loosing battle, and Network Rail have cleared the other portal, knocked down the retaining wall, erected the new fencing and they're going in that way.
    A big problem in the tunnels history was giant icicles forming on cold winter nights, A steam engine used to be parked here overnight to prevent this in later years. The line used to be known as the Alpine route due to its hilly nature.

    My Visit

    I’d not heard of this tunnel until last year, but when working locally someone mentioned it and after a quick Google found phill. d’s photos and was inspired to pay it a visit. Soon found out it was sealed tight, so put it on the back burner.

    July 2012 and I heard engineering works had meant the usually flooded Southern portal had been pumped out so access was possible again, so off I went in the pissing rain. Things were looking good when I arrived.

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    Unfortunately it soon became apparent that it either hadn’t been pumped out enough or the weeks of recent rainfall had flooded it again. I gave up trying to get in when it reached my chin! A quick change and I drove to see if it was possible to get in at the Northern portal, a muddy trudge soon gave me my answer.

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    Again Queensbury went to the back of my list of things to do, well that was until I saw a report from Black last week, was sure it wasn’t Queensbury as things had changed a lot over the last few months, but off I headed again, hopefully to finally see this tunnel.

    Things had changed and to the better, except for the weather.

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    I was soon in and out of the rain, hopefully it was worth the wait? You soon come across the first vent shaft, cascading with water.

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    Off I went, not too sure how far you could get down the tunnel before it became flooded.

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    Passing the odd bit of graffiti, strange formations and efflorescence.

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    After a bit I reached the second vent shaft, this was nice as there was still a short section of track left for some reason.

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    Continuing on my mooch I started to come into the area where they are undertaking maintenance work, spray coated concrete repairs, parts of the brick liner missing exposing the underlying bedrock and area of removed/collapsed brickwork?

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    End of the line for me was at the third vent shaft, the water had reached knee deep and having had 1 previous soaking in here I wasn’t prepared to have another, especially given that it was December!

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    That was more or less it, but thought I’d go and have a visit to the Southern portal and see how deep the water had got since my first visit! I had a cunning plan that I’d return with a rubber dingy or tube and try and paddle my way in, thankfully I never ended up with the time, a deflated dingy floating in the cutting possibly shows I’m glad I didn’t find the time.

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    I think the water levels even higher than Blacks photo from last week!

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    Well that’s it, and that’s it for this year I think! A great tunnel to explore and well worth the wait to get myself in.

    Cheers, Have a Great Christmas and lots of explores in the New Year :)

    TLR ​
     
    #1 The Lone Ranger, Dec 18, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2012

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