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Information - Merseyrail Tunnel System - Subterranean Lake with boat plus some unfinished headings...


Buffplums

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Hi all,
this Is my first post here and want to kick off with description of what one thing I’m interested in finding out more about.
This is all related to the main tunnel section beneath Hamilton Square and the 2 tunnels leading to the old and new James street stations And also the section of tunnel from Hamilton Square to Birkenhead Park.

First, the lake. I have been in contact with a couple of guys who were both ex Merseyrail staff maintenance guys who describe an underground lake beneath the current rail tunnel. A lot of rumours as neither had actually seen the lake as you could only get to it on rare occasions when a flooded drainage tunnel was drained or something along those lines. Although they say they have t actually seen the lake they say it is definitely there and there are stories of a rowing boat on it as it’s rather big.

Now I happened to see an article on the Liverpool Echo about a similar underground lake, again with a boat on it underneath the Cains brewery building in Stanhope Street in Liverpool. Need to check the map but I have a funny feeling this isn’t that far from the route of the original Merseyrail tunnel. I will need to consult a map. If thats the case then there is a good chance that both lakes are one and the same. In the Liverpool echo report it says that divers in the 90s who entered into the Cain’s site lake (incidently, Cain’s used to extract the water for brewing apparently it’s 40 foot deep, crystal clear and the bed consists of shale and pebbles ...how the hell did that happen underground)

Ok so that’s that...

Next, for years and since a kid with my head glued to the window trying to see the dark tunnel as we sped from Hamilton Square to Liverpool, just before where the loop line built in 77 branches off to the left, if you carry on straight along the old tunnel section just slightly back onnthe right hand tunnel wall, blink and you’ve missed it is another tunnel...in actual fact right back to the start of the tunnel construction this section of the main tunnel between HS and James Street had 2 extra headings, one on either side of the tunnel both heading North so creating a 3 way split. This 3 way junction is underneath

Mann Island

now for years and years I could never find out anything.. asking the staff at nearby stations resulted in a weird sick expression of disbelief as if to say...’yoo on summit lar’? Anyway finally made contact with a few folk on a FB site. I think it’s called Mersey Railways or something and a guy posted me a copy of an article. It turns out that the plan was to build a branch that would connect the Wirral to Liverpool rail tunnel to the North Docks in Liverpool via a branch going off to the left. not sure how far the heading went originally but it was never finished and this heading became the branch tunnel for the loop line extension in 1977. The tunnel on the opposite side, the one I was always fascinated by was the return tunnel and it looks like it would have dove underneath James Street station and joined up with the heading on the opposite side the junction then would have formed a single but twin track bore that headed to and from the docks.

I recently spoke with another guy on that FB group who is one of the tunnel maintenance team and he said he will try and get some pictures and have a look down it to see how far it goes so if I get any pics or info I will post to this thread.

one other proposed tunnel extension that never came to anything was planned about 100 metres before the end of the tunnel from Hamilton Square to Birkenhead Park. If you take the train going towards Birkenhead park and watch the right hand wall, there is the remains of what looks like another tunnel heading with a load of debris and wood blocking it up. This apparently was going to connect with the docks on the Birkenhead side.

i will try and post some links on this thread. first for the Cains lake in the Echo and a diagram of the proposed extensions and also some photos showing the original headshunt which is now the start of the new loop line. Note that you can see the original brickwork of the old headshunt. I nabbed these pics somewhere off that FB site a long time ago or somewhere else I can’t remember but it’s annoying that the photographer didn’t angle his camera to the right a bit to show the heading that I am interested in.

this tunnel has so many interestI gotta features like an old abandoned signal box at the lowest level of the tunnel, hardly much bigger than a small frame with a hand full of levers to control a crossover and possibly the 2 headings, access was via the tunnel from either end and was a single man job so must have been rather spooky working down there.

This is a diagram showing the 3, the top one was extended to form the start of the current loop line. the bottom one is the one I’m interested in.
846942




this is the snippet which provides the details of the proposed plans.
846943



Mann Island Junction looking down the tunnel with Hamilton Square behind, straight on for the Old James Street station and left onto the loop,line. Note the original brickwork to accommodate the proposed original North Docks branch which must have just been an old headshunt instead for many years. The other junction is a bit further back towards HS on the right hand side, pity the photographer didn’t take this further back to show all 3 portals .

846944



A slightly different angle

846945




Some stills that I grabbed from a driver training video that you can find on YouTube and would have been in the right area. Unfortunately can’t really see much detail, if any.
846946
 

Buffplums

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Hi all,
this Is my first post here and want to kick off with description of what one thing I’m interested in finding out more about.
This is all related to the main tunnel section beneath Hamilton Square and the 2 tunnels leading to the old and new James street stations And also the section of tunnel from Hamilton Square to Birkenhead Park.

First, the lake. I have been in contact with a couple of guys who were both ex Merseyrail staff maintenance guys who describe an underground lake beneath the current rail tunnel. A lot of rumours as neither had actually seen the lake as you could only get to it on rare occasions when a flooded drainage tunnel was drained or something along those lines. Although they say they have t actually seen the lake they say it is definitely there and there are stories of a rowing boat on it as it’s rather big.

Now I happened to see an article on the Liverpool Echo about a similar underground lake, again with a boat on it underneath the Cains brewery building in Stanhope Street in Liverpool. Need to check the map but I have a funny feeling this isn’t that far from the route of the original Merseyrail tunnel. I will need to consult a map. If thats the case then there is a good chance that both lakes are one and the same. In the Liverpool echo report it says that divers in the 90s who entered into the Cain’s site lake (incidently, Cain’s used to extract the water for brewing apparently it’s 40 foot deep, crystal clear and the bed consists of shale and pebbles ...how the hell did that happen underground)

Ok so that’s that...

Next, for years and since a kid with my head glued to the window trying to see the dark tunnel as we sped from Hamilton Square to Liverpool, just before where the loop line built in 77 branches off to the left, if you carry on straight along the old tunnel section just slightly back onnthe right hand tunnel wall, blink and you’ve missed it is another tunnel...in actual fact right back to the start of the tunnel construction this section of the main tunnel between HS and James Street had 2 extra headings, one on either side of the tunnel both heading North so creating a 3 way split. This 3 way junction is underneath

Mann Island

now for years and years I could never find out anything.. asking the staff at nearby stations resulted in a weird sick expression of disbelief as if to say...’yoo on summit lar’? Anyway finally made contact with a few folk on a FB site. I think it’s called Mersey Railways or something and a guy posted me a copy of an article. It turns out that the plan was to build a branch that would connect the Wirral to Liverpool rail tunnel to the North Docks in Liverpool via a branch going off to the left. not sure how far the heading went originally but it was never finished and this heading became the branch tunnel for the loop line extension in 1977. The tunnel on the opposite side, the one I was always fascinated by was the return tunnel and it looks like it would have dove underneath James Street station and joined up with the heading on the opposite side the junction then would have formed a single but twin track bore that headed to and from the docks.

I recently spoke with another guy on that FB group who is one of the tunnel maintenance team and he said he will try and get some pictures and have a look down it to see how far it goes so if I get any pics or info I will post to this thread.

one other proposed tunnel extension that never came to anything was planned about 100 metres before the end of the tunnel from Hamilton Square to Birkenhead Park. If you take the train going towards Birkenhead park and watch the right hand wall, there is the remains of what looks like another tunnel heading with a load of debris and wood blocking it up. This apparently was going to connect with the docks on the Birkenhead side.

i will try and post some links on this thread. first for the Cains lake in the Echo and a diagram of the proposed extensions and also some photos showing the original headshunt which is now the start of the new loop line. Note that you can see the original brickwork of the old headshunt. I nabbed these pics somewhere off that FB site a long time ago or somewhere else I can’t remember but it’s annoying that the photographer didn’t angle his camera to the right a bit to show the heading that I am interested in.

this tunnel has so many interestI gotta features like an old abandoned signal box at the lowest level of the tunnel, hardly much bigger than a small frame with a hand full of levers to control a crossover and possibly the 2 headings, access was via the tunnel from either end and was a single man job so must have been rather spooky working down there.

This is a diagram showing the 3, the top one was extended to form the start of the current loop line. the bottom one is the one I’m interested in.
View attachment 846942



this is the snippet which provides the details of the proposed plans.
View attachment 846943


Mann Island Junction looking down the tunnel with Hamilton Square behind, straight on for the Old James Street station and left onto the loop,line. Note the original brickwork to accommodate the proposed original North Docks branch which must have just been an old headshunt instead for many years. The other junction is a bit further back towards HS on the right hand side, pity the photographer didn’t take this further back to show all 3 portals .

View attachment 846944


A slightly different angle

View attachment 846945



Some stills that I grabbed from a driver training video that you can find on YouTube and would have been in the right area. Unfortunately can’t really see much detail, if any.
View attachment 846946
 

urbanchemist

28DL Regular User
Regular User
A couple of these things have been discussed recently, links below (Cains is nowhere near the rail tunnel).

 

Buffplums

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
A couple of these things have been discussed recently, links below (Cains is nowhere near the rail tunnel).

Yeah the thing that struck me was that the 2 locations had a vet similar story can’t be many underground lakes with a rowing boat. Ok not sure How far apart the locations of both sites could be but the fact that there were reported tunnels feeding into the underground lake might suggest that they may lead to the rail tunnels. I don’t think the Cains brewery sight is a million miles from James street which is probably the closest to the brewery site in Stanhope Street? I don’t know I need to get my bearing andnfind out moor ..
 

Gone

Regular User
The lake stuff is interesting, did you get any further with your research on it? I'd give it a go, hard without any clues eh.

Got stacks of photos from 2010 - 2013 when we were on with it, a few of the boys made the crossing under the water too - they can probs help.

Your pre-James Street to North Docks branch tunnel (Return), roughly the route in red under JS station?

1697495_6ec5c65414510770b86a0a71a7f6ed44 (1).jpeg
 

Gone

Regular User
could this system possibly connect with MEPAS at any point, as it looks near the mersey in that diagram?
there is a control room for MEPAS next to the Liver Building/Ferry Parking so it would put it fairly close, unsure of exact depth/route of MEPAS in that area - cant see a newer system being linked to the rail tunnels though.
 

pastybarm

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Yes, I was reading something on the mepas pdf about construction in the DINGLE area, but yes, whether there is any access into MEPAS or the other way round into merseyrail is just a guess on my part. Thanks for replying.
 

Buffplums

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
The lake stuff is interesting, did you get any further with your research on it? I'd give it a go, hard without any clues eh.

Got stacks of photos from 2010 - 2013 when we were on with it, a few of the boys made the crossing under the water too - they can probs help.

Your pre-James Street to North Docks branch tunnel (Return), roughly the route in red under JS station?

View attachment 847698
High sounds interesting what did your guys manage to do? Did they find a way into the tunnels? Be really interested if you can get some of their photos I’m particularly interested in any of the ventilation and drainage tunnels as well as any info on the old smoke extraction headings that connected to the roofs of Hamilton Square and old James Street ....
 

Gone

Regular User
High sounds interesting what did your guys manage to do? Did they find a way into the tunnels? Be really interested if you can get some of their photos I’m particularly interested in any of the ventilation and drainage tunnels as well as any info on the old smoke extraction headings that connected to the roofs of Hamilton Square and old James Street ....
There wont be any photographs of the vents or drainage in detail mate, you'll have to get down there and have a look for yourself for those.

Just standard track runner snaps, its not the place to poke about as you can't hide!

1587418121022.png
 

Buffplums

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
cheers anyway mate just one question, how did you get in? Walked in at the tunnel entrances ?
 

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