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Report - Lissummon Tunnel, Co. Armagh - August 2013

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by cunningcorgi, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. cunningcorgi

    cunningcorgi 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Apr 12, 2011
    Likes Received:
    The longest abandoned tunnel in Ireland.


    Construction of the Newry to Armagh railway - part of an ambitious 72-mile line to Enniskillen - began in August 1846 under the direction of engineer John Godwin. But inflated costs and mismanagement conspired to ensure it was not completed for another 18 years. The 3½-mile Newry-Goraghwood section opened in 1849 but work on the through route stalled, only getting underway in October 1861. This was to include a short tunnel at Loughgilly and a much longer one under Lissummon Hill.

    Planned at a length of 1,604 yards but extended to 1,759 yards, it was driven with the benefit of six construction shafts - two of them 200 feet deep - creating 14 working faces. One man lost his life after falling down a shaft.

    Built to accommodate a single track, Lissummon is Ireland's longest railway tunnel and the first in-service train passed through on 25th August 1864. Perfectly straight but on a rising gradient of 1:75 to the north, the tunnel is masonry-lined but with some localised brickwork such as around the refuges. These are located at 20-yard intervals along the north wall.

    The route's passenger services were withdrawn following a strike in 1933 but goods trains continued to use this section of the line until 1957. Today the tunnel remains in fair condition but suffers through water penetration particularly around its central section.


    Visited solo.

    I'm going to apologise in advance for some of the photos. Nearly everywhere I went in Ireland over the last 4 weeks seemed to be shrouded in mist no matter what time of the day or night I visited. Humid summer weather and cool underground sites do not a good mix make. I thought I would avoid this while visiting Lissummon as the previous night was pretty piss poor weather wise (i.e. not hot or humid) and I arrived at the south portal just before 7am instead of high noon.

    The tunnel is perfectly straight so I expected to see light from the distant north portal in the distance when I arrived. Unfortunatly I couldn't see any trace of light in the distance and the reason became pretty obvious after about 200 yards in. The mist was everywhere.

    I wasn't even going to get the camera out and decided to just walk the tunnel or at least walk until I could see the far northern portal. By the time this came into sight through the crap, I just continued on. One fag break later, I thought I may as well try and get a few shots as I'd travelled across Bandit Country to find the tunnel and I'm not in the area that often so might not get a chance to go back for quite a while.

    Hopefully, somebody more local can pay a visit and get some better shots than my misty piss poor efforts !

    1. Northern portal

    2. The (misty) view southwards

    3. Refuge 1 - designed for people of limited height

    4. Refuge 2 - still stoopy but a little more colourful

    5. A view back north

    6. View south and still no sign of the portal through the mist

    7. Halfway point looking back north

    8. Refuge 3 - calcite attack

    9. Southern portal looms

    10. The only real clear shot, looking north and with the mist starting in the distance

    11. Brickwork

    12. Southern portal

    Thanks for looking !

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