Following on from yesterdays images, I bring you Cowburn Tunnel on the Manchester to Sheffield railway line, it’s very scenic line (if you cut out the urban bits of Manchester and Sheffield that is) well worth a ride if you get the chance, you can even take the folk train, if that’s the sort of thing you fancy.
Now pay attention please, I need to point and wave my arms around for you to see what I’m talking about; the entrance to the tunnel in the lower third of the image and the tunnels ventilation shaft is the black ‘cube’ sitting up on the moor near the skyline.
What you can’t see from this vantage point is the railway line curving around the back of the hill in the foreground.
A little history of the ninth longest tunnel in the UK, it was an excavation of epic proportions.
The tunnel is 3,702 yards (3,385 m) long. It was built in 1891 by the Midland Railway, under Colborne (part of a 1,700 ft/518 m moorland between Kinder Scout and Rushup Edge). It takes the Hope Valley Line west out of Edale valley, to emerge near Chinley.
Unusually, the tunnel is not built at a constant gradient: in fact, the summit of the line between Dore and Chinley lies within the tunnel, about a quarter of the way from the eastern end. From the summit, the tunnel falls at 1 in 100 (1%) eastwards and 1 in 150 (0.67%) westwards. Nevertheless, when the headings met, they were no more than 1 inch (25.4 mm) out of line in the vertical direction, and met exactly in the horizontal direction. Only one vertical shaft was used. Although the workings were much drier than they had been for Totley Tunnel, on one occasion the headings filled with water to a depth of 90 ft (27.4 m) and work was carried on in a diving bell.*
Here is the line dashing through the village of Chinley ( it might be hard to believe but in 1596 there were ‘serious riots’ in Chinley all to do with the enclosure of the moorland).
Back home the boys have been helping me excavate an old ‘grindstone’ that had been set in some paving in a neglected corner of the garden that’s now under a pile of builders rubble left behind after the house was reroofed. (Mr Uhdd plans to take a mini digger to the area in the not to distant future)
There were times when the project looked like the out-takes from the Flintstones
It did make me realise how handy, if hungry, teenagers can be.
So what am I going to do with it now? Good question. Suggestions to-date, with teenage bias, I hasten to add.
- Sun dial
- Water feature
- Base for ‘bird table’ (Pterodactyl size)
- Extreme cheese rolling
- Clay pigeon shooting (with RPG)
I can report Spud have a wonderfully muddy time throughout
* we find the diving bell scenario a bit hard to believe….