Report - - Hillhead Tunnel (April and September 2015) | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Hillhead Tunnel (April and September 2015)


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
After posting my first thread on this site and receiving positive responses I thought I'd give a report on Hillhead Tunnel. Photos were taken in April and September of this year so It'll be a combination of the two.
The most recent ones were taken using a DSLR and lit up using the new torch which I used in Sandsend and Kettleness Tunnels.

The Tunnel was built for the 35.5 mile Alnwick to Cornhill branch line which was created to link the farming communities of north Northumberland and traversed through some amazing countryside. Construction on the line began in 1884 and was finally opened in 1887. The Tunnel has a brick lined bore with sandstone portals together with buttresses and triangular retaining walls either side. It is 351 yards in length and is generally straight with a slight curve to the west at the southern end.
The tunnel passes underneath farmland at a maximum depth of 125ft and has within it several large yet shallow refuges. Two air shafts were constructed and to this day are uncapped and stand quite prominently in the field above. The base of the shafts are lined with a thick concrete ring.
I have read in a book as well as online sources that a small 2 mile rail line was built to join a brick works to the tunnel for construction. However from studying old maps from the time of construction and seeing remains of a structure many years ago, a brick works was located immediately adjacent to the tunnel's north portal which would seem to be more feasible. I can't find any evidence of this 2 mile line.

The line was not a major success and by the 1930's was starting to go into decline. Bus services and general road traffic was increasing and after a major storm in 1949 which split the line in two, the end was becoming ever closer. The last time a train passed through the tunnel was in 1953, yet after 62 years of abandonment it remains in very good condition.


Refuge can be seen on the left.



The light from the air shaft can be seen in the distance. This was taken with a non DSLR.


The Northern Portal.


The base of one of the two air shafts with the concrete ring.



Weep holes are present throughout the Tunnel.


Looking out from the Southern Portal.


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Nice photos! The 3rd last one contrasts nicely
Thanks, much appreciated. They are a mix of camera types and torches. My first visit was with a non DSLR and a small spotlight torch with little in the way of projection. The second time round was with a DSLR and the new torch. I live quite close to the tunnel so I might visit again when it's a bit darker as the portal light is quite intense.


Irregular Member
Regular User
Thanks. I've visited a number of tunnels and bunkers etc over the last few years but have never put them online, apart from facebook where they get buried by other's postings on what they had for lunch. Thanks again.
There's something about tunnels, not sure what, but I always enjoy exploring them. Rather look at pictures of tunnels, than a picture of a cottage pie that looks like the after affects of a kebab.


Definitely not a Cylon
28DL Full Member
That's a very clean, neat looking tunnel! Really cool profile, kind of egg-shaped.

Looks like the DSLR and torch combo is working well for you, great pictures.

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