The Tunnel Present

Tipped debris that formerly formed the protection wall at the top of the northernmost shaft. One of the many supports for the telegraph wire that ran through the tunnel. A transverse slot was cut in the tunnel's lining during grouting experiments. The tunnel was built without any refuges but a few were inserted during repairs in the 1880s. The lining is predominantly dry but some extensive deposits of calcite are apparent in places. In the early 1880s, three hatches were inserted at the crown to allow inspection of the voids behind the lining. The Up Distant signal was located in the tunnel, mounted on two brackets. Through most of the tunnel, the track drainage is still functional, with catchpits located every 100 feet. Reminding us of the tunnel's intended role, a solitary track panel evaded the salvage crew's attention at the base of No.4 shaft which has a diameter of 12 feet. Both the rails and sleepers have survived 50+ years without maintenance remarkably well. To the south of No.4 shaft, the condition of the lining deteriorates markedly due to the presence of an adjacent coal seam. At two locations, partial collapses have occurred due to a loss of brickwork and ground loading. Friable material behind the lining which is comprised of six brick rings. The view up No.3 shaft which was relined in 1934/35. Reinforced concrete frames transfer the load of the additional brickwork into the surrounding rock. At two locations, a series of ribs was installed to provide additional support. Following periods of rainfall, a huge amount of water cascades down No.2 shaft from an adit which emerges into it about 65 feet up. In places, water penetrates the lining under pressure. A domed cap has been inserted at the base of No.1 shaft. Below No.1 shaft is a refuge with exposed rock to the rear. Near the south portal, the tunnel is stoned-lined and curves slightly to the south.
All photos © Forgotten Relics

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Tunnel condition under scrutiny

Monday 18 December 2017