Report - - Standedge Tunnels - Oct 2015 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Standedge Tunnels - Oct 2015


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Work started on the first of three Standedge railway tunnels in November 1846. Two years later it was completed at a cost of £201,608. The work was done in candlelight and used over 150,000 lbs of candles, costing over three and a half thousand pounds. The full length of the railway tunnel was 3 miles and 60 yards. The line opened for business on 1st August 1849, when the L & N W Railway Company issued its first timetable for Saddleworth. A second railway tunnel was finished in 1870 and a third one in 1894. Standedge is unique in having four tunnels that run almost parallel to each other under the moors. The canal and railway tunnels remain one of the greatest feats of British engineering because of the enormous task of carrying water through the Saddleworth hills. In 1847 a large water wheel was erected at Diggle Mill, the brainchild of William Broadbent. The Standedge Canal Tunnel is the longest, highest and deepest canal tunnel in Britain. It runs under the Pennine Hills for a distance of 5,029 meters to join the West Yorkshire village of Marsden to the Greater Manchester village of Diggle. It was initially estimated that the work would take 5 years, but in the end it was 16 years before the longest canal tunnel in Britain was to open. With the railways taking traffic away from the canals, the Huddersfield Canal fell into slow decline. The last commercial boat passed through the tunnel in 1921. The canal was officially closed in 1944 although a boat, "Ailsa Craig", struggled through in 1948, being the last boat to make a complete passage along the canal before the lock gates were removed in the 1950s. A maintenance boat remained on the summit level for carrying out inspections and basic maintenance within Standedge Tunnel. In 1961 and 1962 this boat took groups of canal enthusiasts through the tunnel. But in time parts of the roof became unstable and some sections collapsed, making navigation impossible. By the time funding eventually became available to restore the tunnel, it had become a major operation, with some sections needing to be stabilised with rock bolts and others to be lined with concrete. 10,000 tons of silt and 3,000 tons of fallen rocks had to be removed. On May 1st, 2001 the tunnel was open to boats once more, after restoration costing more than five million pounds. When the tunnel was originally opened in 1811, the cost of construction had been £123,804 .Today the 1894 tunnel is still used as an emergency escape route and for emergency vehicles to pass through if and when required.

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The west portals at the Diggle side

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One of the many passageways heading down to the canal

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Walking down to the canal we were not expecting the lights to turn on

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No entry

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A passage way heading over to the live tracks

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One of the many links between the two service tunnels

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The ghost photographer

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Looking back on where we came from

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As the trains sped fast you could feel a cool breeze then the next minute it was gone
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The east portals in Marsden


The Lone Ranger

Safety is paramount!
Staff member
Well done, cracking photos of the tunnels too :thumb

The Wombat

Mr Wombat
28DL Full Member
That's a really good set there
good work


Super Moderator
Staff member
I was in a boozer recently that had one of those "danger" planks on the wall... Hipster wall art right there!

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