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Report - Report - Bourne's Tunnel, Rainhill. July 2012

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by Spiraldive, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. Spiraldive

    Spiraldive 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Jul 17, 2012
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    I first found Bourne's Tunnel at Rainhill with mates when we were kids growing up in the area & exploring the slag heaps from the old mines in the area . As tunnels go, once you have seen it, then you have seen it. It is a single straight tunnel that goes beneath the railwayline & then 180ft under what was a huge slag heap from the former Lea Green Colliery where the tunnel is back-filled. The slag heap has gone & is now a building site. It is unclear whether the tunnel has collapsed under the weight of the slag heap, or it is just backfilled. It looks like the tunnel could go further.

    When down there I found a huge chain link that looks like it could have come from the winding gear from the mine. I was collared by the farmer as it looks like he does a lot of fishing in a nearby pond. He had a chat to him, explained the situation - just told him I wanted to look at the tunnel, & he was fine about it. As long as you stick to field boundaries, not walking directly through the field, are not damaging crops - the farmers are fine. Having landed my paraglider in farmers fields all over the place after cross country distance flights , I seem to have developed quite a nack!

    The Bourne Tunnel is part of the engineering on the Liverpool to Manchester line and one of the earliest examples of its kind from the railway age.

    It was built, ear Rainhill, the late 1820s and runs for 104ft to pass under the Liverpool and Manchester line, the first locomotive passenger line in the world.

    The 104 ft long tunnell was built to accommodate a colliery tramway which linked a pit Sutton with a with a weighing machine and coal stockpile on the Liverpool-Warrington turnpike road. The Bourne Tunnel has been given Grade II listed status for architectural as well as historical reasons. Engineering skill is evident in its angled design and attention to aesthetic detail.

    It is not known exactly who designed the Bourne Tunnel, but it’s believed that many of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Line’s bridges were designed by George Stephenson’s apprentice, Thomas L Gooch, with the help of Liverpool dock engineer Jesse Hartley.

    Tunnel Entrance - overgrown with nettles & ferns.

    Poor lighting, but it was the best that I cold get.

    Huge chain. Each link was over a foot long.

    At the far end. Backfilled. No visible signs of collapse.

    View back to the entrance. Waterlogged.

    (edit:resized pictures)

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    #1 Spiraldive, Jul 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012

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