Report - - Brunswick Tunnel & Air Raid Shelter - Harrogate - North Yorkshire - October 2021 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Brunswick Tunnel & Air Raid Shelter - Harrogate - North Yorkshire - October 2021


Miss TQ ✌️
28DL Full Member
Brunswick Tunnel And Air Raid Shelter.

The rather long winded write up:

The York and North Midland Railway opened in 1839, connecting York with the Leeds and Selby Railway and in 1840 with the North Midland Railway at Normanton near Leeds. The line was largely financed by George Hudson who invested a substantial inheritance in the North Midland, becoming a director.
He then took an active part in the promotion of the route and commissioned George Stephenson to construct the line.

Having completed the York line, George Hudson turned his attention to Harrogate, proposing a branch to the town from a junction with the Y & NM at Normanton with stations at Stutton, Tadcaster, Newton Kyme, Thorpe Arch, Wetherby and Spofforth and a terminus at Harrogate.

Local people and businesses initially opposed the railway fearing an influx of people from Leeds and Bradford would lower the tone of the area but this opposition was overcome and the line opened to a temporary terminus at Spofforth on 10th August 1847.
The line was extended into Harrogate Brunswick on 20th July 1848.
The terminus was sited on Trinity Road, adjacent to the Methodist church opposite The Stray and was constructed entirely of timber.

The main engineering features were at the north west end of the route between Spofforth and Harrogate with the line passing first through the 825 Yard Prospect Tunnel (report will come at a later date as visited both the same day) then across the 31 arch Crimple viaduct and then through the 400 Yard Brunswick Tunnel before entering the terminus at Harrogate Brunswick.
(This was the official name of the station although in timetables it was only shown as Harrogate).

On 1st September 1848, the Leeds and Thirsk Railway (renamed Leeds Northern Railway in 1849) opened their line to Harrogate with a station to the east of the town at Starbeck.

In 1849 George Hudson was forced to resign as chairman of the York & North Midland Railway following his involvement in dubious business activities.

In 1851 the Thirsk line was joined by the East and West Yorkshire Junction Railway from York at Knaresborough east of Harrogate.

In 1854 the York & North Midland Railway amalgamated with the Leeds Northern Railway to form the North Eastern Railway who built a new line from a junction with their Normanton line immediately east of Brunswick Tunnel, this allowed trains to run into Starbeck station.

A new central station was opened at Harrogate on 1st August 1862 and Brunswick Station was closed.
Initially the terminus was retained for goods traffic but this was short lived.
The exact date of final closure is not known but the 1893 Ordnance Survey map shows the track in the eastern approach cutting to the tunnel had been lifted and the cutting to the west of the tunnel has been infilled.

Brunswick tunnel found a new use during WW2 when an air raid shelter was built just inside the west portal, it was the only large public shelter in that part of Harrogate.

Harrogate was only bombed once in 1941 and that was in error when one German plane strayed over the town.
The shelter was abandoned by 1943 and sealed.

In 1954 the tunnel was surveyed for possible use by the Ministry of Supply as an engineering works but it was never used for this purpose.
All evidence of the shelter entrance was finally removed in the 1960’s during road alterations.
At this time workmen accidentally dug into the tunnel roof unaware of its existence!

Today the only evidence of Brunswick station is a metal commemorative plaque mounted on a stone at the site.
No photographs of the station are known.

The less long winded Explore:

I stumbled across this tunnel whilst searching for prospect tunnel on Google, initially i was quite excited and headed straight over to forgotten relics to pin the portal and hit both the tunnels in the same day.
Unfortunately there was no help from forgotten relics woth it not even being listed on there.
So I began searching Google for clues.. A could of road names and I did a NLS map search. Which also didn't show it :banghead
But knowing what I then knew I made a educated guess at its location and off we headed.

The guess was spot on! The side to enter from not so as we found ourselfs trying to walk up a very stale smelling, swampy, shoe stealing cutting in approach to a location we wasn't 100% was right at that point.

After a good half hour, knee deep stagnant water and mud, a few near misses of sloshing in, and luckily still two boots still on we saw it the portal was visible and accessible and it made it all worth it :p.

Equipment came out, got set up and in we headed, once inside it was very straight forward although slightly misty but we worked with that best we could.
It stank of sewerage thanks to a burst pipe pouring in though the brickwork but we cracked on.

What made us laugh was how easy access could have been, so we opted to head straight up next to the portal, and onto the street.. We had a good laugh about the fact we walked through a swamp for no reason but you live and learn these things.. All in all I'm proud of my tunnel guessing location skills :D.

Onto the pictures, I got wet feet for these so I hope you enjoy :D:

Starting off with the Eastern Portal.

Just inside the portal, looking back at it.

A little further in, still looking back at eastern portal.

Looking Western down the tunnel, You can see the fog floating around.

Still, looking Western a bit further up, the fog is close now, tried to keep the torch low as not to blue the picture out.. Loved the stalactites hanging down.

Looking back towards the eastern Portal from the same point as above. You can see where we've disturbed the fog it isn't sitting nicely in a sheet no more.

Nearing the start of the air raid shelter now. Looking back towards the portal.

There's the start of the air raid.. And a lone trolley.

Why is there normally always an Abandoned trolley in a tunnel?. It's getting to a stage now where I'm gunna be pointing out "oh look there's no trolley in this tunnel" :D

Stading in the air raid doorway looking back towards the portal.

And looking out the air raid door.. The trolley clearly wanted to be featured :D.

The end of the air raid just before the unique feature appeared

There it is.. Not often you see a staircase in a tunnel.. Only one other tunnel where I've ever seen this.. Gomersal, but that was access steps and not a air raid staircase.

Up the top of the staircase, this corridor turns right and would have been the entrance from the street into the shelter.

After turning right this is what you are faced with, it turns to the left at the end of this and is fully sealed up, now buried underneath a roundabout at the end of Langcliffe Avenue.

Looking down the staircase.. Those stalactites have caught my eye and I wanna try getting closer..

Hopped up onto the infill to see if I could be all arty with the stalactites, I wanted to get closer but this would have to do as the infill was too low if I went down anymore.
It was much cooler being up there with them in person the it seems in the photo....honestly :D

Finishing up with a decaying handrail shot.

That's all for this report.. Hope you enjoyed and didn't get too bored with me rambling on.
I have quite a backlog so I may look at posting a little more often to clear this back log up so untill next time, stay safe and happy exploring ;)

Doug Judy

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Wow! :Not Worthy To say those pictures are captured using a mobile phone / tripod I’d easily say on first look they rival mine taking with a camera! You’ve really mastered the light painted photography well, Think you’ve captured this tunnel better then I have! Top work look forward to seeing next:thumb


Miss TQ ✌️
28DL Full Member
Wow! :Not Worthy To say those pictures are captured using a mobile phone / tripod I’d easily say on first look they rival mine taking with a camera! You’ve really mastered the light painted photography well, Think you’ve captured this tunnel better then I have! Top work look forward to seeing next:thumb
Thanks a lot doug, the light painting was pretty easy to pick up having learnt the basics from you.. I do have the odd moment where a few words are said kuz it just don't wanna come out right :mad: :D.
Next thing I reckon is one of those yellow torches with a further throw that you use :D.
Thanks a lot for the kinds words :thumb


28DL Regular User
Regular User
Can't say I've ever found a air raid in a railway tunnel before.. Love something a little different to find in a tunnel.
But lads :eek: just a female here ;):D
Ha my sincere apology. Well done lad and lady :D. Yeah always nice to find something different

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Wow what a great set. Really impressive. We definitely do have a TK & TQ here. Loved this. Though images are superb :Not Worthy