Report - - Gelli Felen Twins, South Wales, May 2012 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Gelli Felen Twins, South Wales, May 2012


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Gelli Felen’s original single bore tunnel opened with the first section of the Merthyr, Tredegar and Abergavenny Railway in September 1862. The line’s principal driving force was Crayshaw Bailey, a major local industrialist, whose influence was crucial in attracting investors. In 1860, it was his wife who cut the first sod to mark the start of construction but a year later, with the company’s finances looking precarious, the London & North Western Railway had to ride to the project’s rescue, taking over its management.

The Abergavenny-Brynmawr section, engineered by John Gardner, involved eight bridges, two tunnels and a climb of over 1,000 feet, placing it amongst the steepest stretches of railway in the UK with one three-mile section demanding a rising gradient of 1 in 34.

The tunnel, just 352 yards long, incorporates a curve of 90° to the north and is mostly masonry lined. Some patches of engineering brick are to be found, especially in the second southerly tunnel which appeared in 1877 when the route was doubled in an effort to maximise traffic flows. The bores are linked by two adits which are now partly flooded.

Timetabled services hit the buffers on Saturday 4th January 1958. The following day, the very last train - a special - made its way through, bringing the line’s life to an end and saving British Rail around £60,000 a year in maintenance costs.


The original bore is accessable and unblocked while the newer bore has been bricked up. Access to this bore 'was' via the two adits mentioned above. One adit is for dwarves and flooded while the other, well, we'll see !

1. Looking out towards the western portals from the original bore (the portals are totally obliterated by tress at the moment)

2. Middle section, original bore

3. Looking towards the eastern portals, original bore

4. Adit giving access to the newer blocked bore with what must be the most unelaborate security system known to man. It would appear that a bunk bed was dumped in the tunnel and someone has screwed the two bases to the adit entrance. Buster Bloodvessel would not have a problem getting through the bars

5. He might however have a problem with the bellycrawl through

6. From the crawl its out the other side of the adit into the sootier, dirtier, blocked bore

7. Mud, mist, water and breeze blocks

8. Very misty to start at the eastern end

9. But it soon abates (thank fuck)

10. And is soon gone as the western portals are approached

11. Finally, the eastern portals who's big claim to fame is that they were used as a location for an episode of Dr. Who in 1975. Apparently, they were a not so secret base - http://www.doctorwholocations.net/locations/gellifelenrailwaytunnels

Thanks for looking.

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