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Report - - Train Graveyard, Cheltenham - Jan 19 | Other Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Train Graveyard, Cheltenham - Jan 19


LittleOwl

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Having been inspired by @mookster visit to this site not so long ago, I set out towards Gloucester way on my day off work, as I had another few sites on the list to visit there anyway.

History

Hunting Butts tunnel often gets overlooked but it is the shorter of the two tunnels on the Honeybourne Line. It has track laid through it and it is used to store rolling stock although the Cheltenham end of the tunnel is fenced off with a robust steel palisade. Hunting Butts tunnel is just 97 yards long and was originally envisaged as a deep cutting. However, this would have severed the gallops then used by the new racecourse so, perhaps with an eye on future revenue afforded by the racecourse the GWR agreed to build the tunnel and it was completed in the Autumn of 1904. Cheltenham Race Course station was completed in 1912; six years after the line had opened throughout.

As has been often documented, the Honeybourne Line was effectively closed in 1976 following a freight train derailment on what is now known as 'Chicken Curve' north of Winchcombe, probably because of movement in the embankment. This is a problem that has beset this location since the 1920s and in January 2011 finally collapsed, severing the line. No through trains traversed the route after that date and it was officially closed later November 1976. However, British Railways did not start lifting track until 1979


The Explore

Not gonna lie, this was a bit of a trek to get to and as I wasn't sure exactly how to access the site, it took a bit of to and fro-ing before I found my way in. This involved traversing over quite a few fields which to the naked eye looked relatively dry but within 100 feet, I'd added an additional stone in weight to each foot. Going was slow to say the least before I got there but hell, I saw a herd of wild deer and a flock of pheasants on the way there, so that was a bit bonus.

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And just because I can, here's a beautiful lone tree in the fields opposite the site that caught my eye.


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The site itself is located not far from Hunting Butts Farm, which (lets be honest) is the best name ever and it seemed that the farmers had taken to hanging fresh fox corpses along the site access points as a deterrent. This doesn't sit well with me at all as I can't abide animal cruelty but thankfully I was able to find an entrance not littered with carcass.

It's a fantastic site and surprisingly long. I was a bit disappointed to see that many of the trams and loaded cargo featured in past posts are no longer there, so I can only assume they'er slowly disassembling the site. It was a fun little explore though and it was interesting to watch the ravages of time increase the deeper down the line I went.


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Unfortunately I didn't manage to get too many shots inside the actual tunnel.

Having knelt down to change the lens on my camera, I could hear this almost inaudible beeping. Checked my phone, no not that. Checked my camera, not that either. What the friggin hell could be beeping? Finally I realised it was coming from underneath the tracks I was crouched beside and given that this site is absolutely 110% not operational, I could only assume it was a trespassing sensor alarm and so I got out of there pretty sharpish. It's a good thing I'd stopped to change lenses or I'd probably not have heard it and gotten collared by farmers brandishing dead foxes.

Would love to go back to the tunnel some time and get some decent shots of it. Now I know where the alarm is hidden anyway...

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mookster

grumpy sod
Regular User
Interesting that there seems to be a sensor in there now, I know the farmer doesn't like people being there and gets a bit shouty if he sees you but the foxes are something else :eek:
 

LittleOwl

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Interesting that there seems to be a sensor in there now, I know the farmer doesn't like people being there and gets a bit shouty if he sees you but the foxes are something else :eek:
That really freaked me out, I must say. Bit of a primitive reaction to trespassing. And there was no sign of a sensor during your visit? It wasn't long ago if I recall
 

mookster

grumpy sod
Regular User
That really freaked me out, I must say. Bit of a primitive reaction to trespassing. And there was no sign of a sensor during your visit? It wasn't long ago if I recall
Back in the middle of the summer heatwave - my god it was hot down there. No sensors or anything back then.
 

LittleOwl

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I have, I got punched by him. I was only 14 at the time. I was only looking in an abandoned farmhouse.
Christ alive, that's harsh! I have been shot by one with a rice bag, also as a kid trespassing. Hurt like fuckery and still have a scar today
 

tumbles

Trip Hopping
Regular User
Interesting that there seems to be a sensor in there now, I know the farmer doesn't like people being there and gets a bit shouty if he sees you but the foxes are something else :eek:
There is recent talk now they've finished the extension to Broadway that they might head closer into Cheltenham. So could be looking to clear this soon.
 

Urban vermin

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Christ alive, that's harsh! I have been shot by one with a rice bag, also as a kid trespassing. Hurt like fuckery and still have a scar today
He was also carrying a shotgun, usually, I'd just hop on my bike and flick the V's when I was caught somewhere I wasn't supposed to be. I wasn't going to outrun being shot at though.
 

LittleOwl

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
There is recent talk now they've finished the extension to Broadway that they might head closer into Cheltenham. So could be looking to clear this soon.
I've heard this too whilst searching for some history on the place. It'll be a shame to see it go
 

fatdeeman

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Pretty cool place, there's a similar one in Wales but it doesn't have a tunnel!

I would guess it all belongs to the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire preserved railway, the nearby Cheltenham racecourse station is theirs.

Sometimes, even with long decommissioned parts of railway infrastructure, you occasionally come across bits of signalling equipment and wiring that still have power which may explain the noise but it is just as likely to be some kind of security device.
 

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