Report - - Lydgate Tunnel - Saddleworth - July 2021 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Lydgate Tunnel - Saddleworth - July 2021


Miss TQ ✌️
28DL Full Member
Opened : 1856
Closed : 1964
1332 Yards Long

The London & North Western Railway's (LNWR's) connection between Oldham and Greenfield breached a ridge on which the small community of Lydgate is found by means of a 1,332 yard double track tunnel. The climb to the eastern portal was up a gradient of 1:75.
The first train to pass through the tunnel was on 4th July 1856.

Heading east trains joined the LNWR's main line at Greenfield before traversing the short branch into Delph.
The route was heavily promoted by James Lees, a mill owner from the town.

The push, pull service was known locally as the 'Delph Donkey', with trains generally being pulled to Delph and then pushed to Oldham.
In the latter case, the driver enjoyed the benefit of a smoke free driving compartment in the end coach and an audible distant signal in the tunnel, 400 yards from the Oldham end.

Water ingress and the challenging gradient often caused problems with adhesion.

The tunnel has a span of 25 feet and a southerly curve towards its western end.
It was masonry lined throughout but later repair work has been undertaken in brick.
Six shafts are thought to have been driven during construction,
Two of these were filled whilst the other four, (two either side of the hill) were retained for ventilation purposes.
These have depths of 140, 210, 220 and 135 feet, all are now unfortunately capped.

In 2008, Lydgate's owners, British Railways Board (Residuary), carried out a five month programme of repairs.
However, contrary to local press reports, these were not prompted by the tunnel's imminent collapse.
Closure of the line came on 13th April 1964.

That's the history done now for the explore info and some piks:

So we arrived to find parking not the best but whilst roadworks were happening it provided a spot, so out we jump and head towards the tunnel leaving the equipment behind as we didn't even know if we was getting in.
Nice little walk up to a steep banking, as always my fave :banghead down goes my friend "ill call you if its open" yeah cool.. You can go get the equipment and I'll wait here ;)..
Back up he comes, "not open" oh that's a shame very little detail was said as to why it wasn't open, gets back to car "come on then get your stuff, is it open really, I just didn't wanna walk back alone :D"
So the equipment we grab and head in.. All in all pretty straight forward.
Thanks for a fun filled explore Mr TK :cool:.

Enjoy the photos:

First photos first The Western Portal.

Just inside the Western portal.

An airshaft, I believe there are 4 of these all of which are capped.

These numeric tiles are throughout the tunnel, spoilt for choice on which numbers to photo.
Kicking myself I didn't pick 28 now :D

Another air shaft, ground underfoot still considerably dry at this point.
I love how the fog is apparent in the distance.

Looking towards the East, however no end in sight.

This is looking towards the Western Portal on the way out, instead of clearing the fog seemed to thicken.

3rd out of the 4 airshafts.. I don't think I pictured the 4th.
The fog is adding to the atmosphere.
Once I'd finished moaning it was making my pictures blurry:banghead:D.

Things change quite drastically in regards to the "dry underfoot" comment :cool:
I love a good bit of mud in a tunnel, adds to the colours and character.

Thats either Mr TK in the distance or a train coming.. Someone clearly wasn't keeping his torch off long enough for my shots to take but its added to the photo so I'll let it slide ;)

I also picked the numbers '75' to photo, this is looking towards the Western Portal which is in view.

Here the Eastern end is now in view.. That is deeper than it looks.. Thankfully I had the trusty tripod walking stick :p.

We was able to picture a few stalactites at the Eastern end, love the effect they give to photos.

And here we are the Eastern Portal, regrettably we didn't go and find the portal for a quick snap, completely slipped our mind's.
Hopefully TK might before he puts his report up.

Of course I had to climb up to the access shaft tho, so this is the cutting leading up to the Eastern Portal.. And the "Cute" confined space doors.
There was no way down the outside.

Thankyou for looking, hope you enjoyed :D


Miss TQ ✌️
28DL Full Member
Bang on that Maddz! What a difference light painting makes even using a phone camera! Well worth the additional time! Nice report :thumb
It really does make a huge difference.. Won't go back to the old ways now.. Owe it all to you TK thanks for showing me the ropes :D:cool:

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