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Found 26 results

  1. History Unlike the railways in Europe or northern America, New Zealand tracks were rudimentary. They were built cheaply and hastily using light iron rails that had a narrow 3ft 6in gauge. Even the tunnels and bridges were minimalistic and usually made as small as possible to get the railways up and running as quickly as possible. It was always the intention, though, that the lines would be improved in the future as traffic and available finances increased. The four-hundred and sixty-two metre long Chain Hills Railway Tunnel, also known as Wingatui Tunnel, was one of the tunnels built in the 1870s, during New Zealand’s brief period of industrialisation. The line itself was constructed to improve transportation of coal and other natural resources across the land to major ports, where the goods could then be shipped elsewhere. Like the Caversham Tunnel, the Chain Hills Tunnel was largely dug out by hand, but it is unique in the sense that it is a Victorian styled brick tunnel that would have taken longer to build than some of the others that were carved out. The Chain Hills Tunnel also sparked much excitement in Dunedin during its construction as workmen made an interesting discovery while making a cutting at the southern end of the tunnel. Thirty-five feet under the ground, which it is thought was once swampland, a large number of moa bones were found (a flightless bird endemic to New Zealand). The bones ranged in shape and size and were in a very good state of preservation owing to the high alkaline levels in the soil. The Chain Hills Tunnel was completed in 1875, and it was measured as being four hundred and sixty-two metres long. Progress was aided with the construction of brick kilns at either end of the tunnel, as this meant materials did not run short because bricks were constantly available throughout the project. However, finishing the tunnel proved to be a difficult and dangerous task. For years the project was plagued by regular flooding, which slowed progress, and workers were also encumbered by the hardness of the stone they were cutting through. Alongside these issues, six months before completion a rock fall occurred at the north end of the tunnel. The incident claimed the lives of two men, Patrick Dempsey and Thomas Kerr. A third man was severely injured as both of his legs were shattered, leaving him crippled for the rest of his life. In the end, the tunnel did not remain in service for very long either as it was abandoned in 1914. A new dual-lane tunnel was constructed further south which meant there was no longer any need for the Chain Hills Tunnel. In the short period of time the Chain Hills Tunnel was operational it claimed another life – that of Irishman George Thompson. Reports indicate that late one evening in 1895, George took a shortcut through the tunnel to get home. Although there are several niches in the tunnel it is likely George was unaware of them, or simply too far away to reach one, before he noticed the oncoming train. Since its closure, however, no more lives have been lost. For a while the tunnel was used as a popular way of passing between Abbotsford and Wingatui, and for moving sheep between the two locations. Nevertheless, since the 1980s the tunnel has been closed to the public due to the deterioration of the tunnel’s structural integrity and subsequent health and safety concerns. In recent years there have been plans to redevelop the tunnel into part of the proposed Otago Central Rail Trail (a cycle and pedestrian track). But, due to lack of funding and ongoing concerns surrounding the structural integrity of the tunnel, especially with the increased risk of it being damaged by an earthquake, the project has come to a standstill. The only recent work Dunedin City Council has carried out on the Chain Hills Tunnel has been to shift two vents from sewer gas reticulation pipes, to stop them from venting into the tunnel. Our Version of Events Having just returned from a South Island trip the previous night, we had no intentions of going exploring, until Nillskill rocked up that is. He was passing back through Dunedin so we decided while he was around to have a crack at the old Chain Hills Tunnel that’s been on the cards for quite a while. We understand there was a public open day a few months ago, but going to an event like that would take away one of the most interesting parts of exploring – figuring out how to slip into these places. We loaded up the car with the usual gear and raided the fridge for all the beers we had spare, then set off in the direction of Mosgiel, a town that is apparently well-known for its local legends and myths. The drive didn’t take too long, which is always good, but the next hour or so we spent trying to find the damn tunnel was a right challenge. To avoid a couple of nearby farms we headed into a patch of native woodland. This would most likely have been quite pleasant, if we’d been able to see where the fuck we were going. But, as we didn’t want to risk using the torches with the farms being so close, we ended up getting very lost among the trees and bushes. After following a few false trails, we did eventually stumbled across the entrance to the tunnel. Just the faint sight of it in the distance raised our disheartened spirits. The next challenge, though, was to get past a locked gate. Fortunately, this wasn’t as bad as it had first appeared, probably due to the fact that we’ve had plenty of practice in the art of contortion over the years we’ve been exploring. To keep it brief, despite some initial doubts about our ability to contort through the space available to us, we managed to worm our way inside. As expected, the inside of the tunnel was incredibly muddy. Even sticking close to the walls didn’t help very much. As for the tunnel itself, though, it was, aesthetically speaking, very pleasant. It reminded us of an old Victorian railway tunnel you’d find in the UK. The condition of some of the bricks in the Chain Hills Tunnel are quite poor too, which enhances its overall photogenicity. Other than that, however, there isn’t a lot else to see. That’s the nature of old railway tunnels unfortunately. We did find a couple of niches and a few pipes belonging to the sewer system, but they’re pretty standard finds in these places. Eventually, after what felt like a fair bit of walking, we found ourselves at the second gate. For some reason, the authorities had left this one open, probably due to the fact that the tunnel is inaccessible from this side. Whatever the reason, it gave us an easy exit from the tunnel, where we found ourselves on a narrow muddy trail surrounded by dense forest. Apparently, if you continue down the track for a while you eventually reach the present day railway line, but it’s quite difficult for anyone to access the tunnel from this side. We didn’t walk down the trail to find out if this is true mind, since we had a bottle of whisky to get started on back in Dunedin. Explored with Nillskill. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14:
  2. History Queensbury Tunnel is one of the longest (2501 yards/1.4 miles) and deepest railway tunnels in England. It was part of the GNR line serving the northern industrial towns of Bradford, Halifax and Keighley. A railway connecting Halifax with Keighley was proposed in 1873; however, the local topography imposed many constraints, especially in the Queensbury area. As a result, several tunnels and viaducts were required to complete the line. A well-known prolific engineer named John Fraser, who was responsible for the construction of several other lines across Yorkshire, was appointed as head engineer for the project. Work on the Queensbury Tunnel began in May 1874. To begin with, cuttings were made into the hillsides at Holmfield and Queensbury through sandstone and millstone grit, and four observatories were subsequently erected to offer views over the construction of four of the major shafts. Eight shafts were originally planned, but the design was later revised to include only seven (the spacing between each was extended). Despite a good start, the first few months proved challenging due to a large influx of water. Although there was regular pumping provision during periods of heavy rainfall work had to be abandoned because the water would often still flood shafts five and six. In an effort to drain some of the water, additional shafts were dug into the hillside. Eventually, this seemed to speed up the progress of the tunnel. As progress of the tunnel continued, and it started to look much more ‘tunnel-like’, five of the original vertical shafts were reinforced and retained for ventilation purposes. Throughout the project several types of drilling machines were tried, but in the end only one was successful: Major Beaumont’s machine that was suited to excavating harder materials. Beaumont’s drill comprised a frame on which four drills were mounted, with compressed air harnessed as the motive power. It is reported that the use of the machine increased the rate of progress significantly. In terms of disasters during the construction period of the Queensbury Tunnel, the first casualties occurred on 10th October 1874, when Richard Sutcliffe suffered a fatal compound fracture when a rope used to haul a cage up shaft number one snapped. The cage plummeted to the bottom of the pit and landed on top of Sutcliffe. Two other miners were also struck, but miraculously they both survived. The next disaster occurred on 7th December 1875 at 3.40am, when six miners returned to their working face after having retreated to fire shots. They were all under the impression that all the blasts had been successful. However, it was quickly discovered that one shot had misfired, so Henry Jones and John Gough were sent to withdraw it. After getting it position to make the withdrawal it exploded, killing them both instantly. A third miner was also injured, suffering head injuries and a broken arm, but he was sent immediately to Halifax Infirmary after being attended to by the works inspector. Several other incidents involving rock collapses also claimed a number of unfortunate miners, and this resulted in the construction project being known as ‘the slaughtering lines’ by local newspapers. The tunnel was finally completed in July 1878, and the Great Northern Railway company held a special dinner for the 300 men involved in its construction. The first train passed through the tunnel in later September as part of a preliminary inspection. Major General Hutchinson conducted the inspection and concluded that it was unfit for passenger traffic due to the incomplete nature of its works. As a result, it remained as a freight only line until December 1879, when Hutchinson revisited the line and re-inspected the tunnel. Nevertheless, soon after becoming part of a passenger line, significant defects were spotted in the sidewalls of the tunnel. This was partly due to poor workmanship, but also to the mining of coal from a seam adjacent to the tunnel. Although repairs were made, additional problems with excessive water build up intensified. A number of pumps were installed in an effort to control this problem. In the winter, though, new threats began to transpire as a result of the water problems, as large icicles would form on the ceiling of the tunnel. During the winter months the first train would be responsible for their removal. In the end, to counter this problem, engines would sometimes be left inside the tunnel overnight to generate heat and prevent the formation of ice. By 1933, the damaged caused by continuing seepage through the brickwork had resulted in the severe deterioration of parts of the structure. The Works Committee decided to employ G. A. Pillett & Son to fulfil the strengthening project. It took seven months to complete at a cost of £2,637. By May 1955, the line’s passenger service was withdrawn. Freight trains continued to use the tunnel for another year, but in 1956 they too were stopped from using the line. The tunnel remained abandoned for a number of years, until it was revisited in 1963 to remove the tracks. Soon after their removal a seismological station was established inside the tunnel by two Cambridge University scientists. During the 1970s the scientists used an array of strain meters and seismometers to compare the effect of elastic inhomogeneities on surface waves from earthquakes and tidal strains. All of the recording equipment was housed in an onsite hut which was also sometimes used by the university’s geophysics department to sleep in. Accessing the hut involved driving a van through tunnel which had to dodge the rubble that had been tipped down the overhead shafts when they were capped. By the end of the 1970s the station was moved to another site at Bingley owing to growing safety concerns over the deteriorating condition of the tunnel. For many years after the university vacated the structure, the tunnel’s northern entrance remained bricked up, with maintenance access available through steel-plated gates. The wall was removed in 2012, however, and replaced with a palisade fence. Most of the time the southernmost portal is completely flooded, with the water level reaching the roof of the portal, owing to poor drainage provision. A number of pumps have been installed, though, and they are used to drain the water when access is required for maintenance. For a while annual inspections ceased due to low levels of oxygen, concerns about ground movement, the effects of vegetation and water, and considerable bulging and missing brickwork in certain sections of the tunnel. However, the tunnel has once again been drained and there are rumours of a major works programme being undertaken over the next four years. Our Version of Events Next on our journey to Liverpool for New Years, we wanted to check out Queensbury Tunnel. Fortunately, it was only around the corner from our previous explore, so it didn’t take long to get there. Finding the actual location didn’t prove to be too difficult either. The only bit of bother we really had was the last bit of driving down a rough poorly tarmacked track in a Ferrari F12 berlinette and a Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport. The side skirts really weren’t very practical. However, we eventually made it to the bottom where we were able to park up. Certain that the cars would be perfectly safe just at the side of the track, we hopped out and began to fetch the gear from the boot. It’s amazing what you can fit inside a Ferrari if you make use of all the nooks and crannies. Bit by bit the items began to gather on the floor by the side of the car: a rope ladder, carabiners, slings, tripods, camera bags, the bevvy box, sandwiches for all eight of us, a picnic blanket, a lampshade, the emergency toaster, several boxes of Jaffa Cakes and eight cheese scones. Several minutes later and we were heading down the small footpath towards the entrance of the tunnel. It was muddy as fuck the entire way, and somehow got even more muddy right next to the entrance itself. After reaching the northern portal, though, we were halted in our tracks by a greater obstacle. The world’s best security perimeter stood in our way. A large black gate loomed over us, slick with fresh anti-climb paint. Not just a slight splodge either, this thing was greased up better than a Girl’s Gone Wild wrestling contender. A large coil of razor wire lay across the top, which has been wrapped around what looked like ordinary barbed wire. That wasn’t all either. Behind this beast of a fence, there was the original palisade fence, also thickly coated in the black stuff. However, as there was no sign to tell us to ‘fuck off’, we were unsure whether we were allowed to venture beyond this mere obstacle. As there was no signage, we guessed that it must be acceptable to proceed onwards – with caution of course. Next, then, we decided to climb to the top of the portal to find a couple of decent sized trees. After wrapping a couple of slings around them, we clipped a home-made Blue Peter inspired rope ladder onto the anchors. We carefully lowered the ladder over the side of the portal and it slotted just nicely behind the second palisade fence. Champion. One by one we proceeded to descend the ladder, taking care not to lose our footing on the rungs. One little slip up and we’d look like failed POW escapees impaled on top of a Nazi-inspired barricade. Going over the ledge was the hardest part of the whole endeavour, since one of the crucial rungs was pressed up tightly against the top of the portal. Having said that, perhaps the most difficult part was getting the egg and cress sarnies over. Once inside, the situation looked grim. Our chances of climbing back out didn’t look good. The ladder was now well and truly lubricated with mud and anti-climb paint. Our only option was to carry on into the depths of the tunnel. We were hoping that the pumps at the other end would still be working, meaning we could walk out rather than climb over the barricade. We set off, walking in the direction of the tiniest smidge of light in the distance. A couple of shots were taken here and there, but it suddenly dawned on us that we were in a former railway tunnel and there are hardly ever any remarkable changes in the features. It just kept going, and the light at the end of the tunnel never seemed to get any bigger. The one behind us definitely got smaller though, to the point that it too was the same size as the one ahead of us. How does that work? Structurally, then, the tunnel is absolutely fucked. There are many important bits missing (bricks and things), where there should be important bits, and several big collapsed sections. There’s some evidence that scaff has been erected to perhaps begin reinforcement work, but that’s not going too well by the looks of things since the tunnel is now resting on much of this scaffolding. We noticed that there’s a bit of a leakage problem too, because we had to walk under three or four cascading waterfalls. Bad crack when you’re trying to keep the scotch eggs dry. After walking for what felt like an eternity, we finally noticed that the light at the end of the tunnel was slowly getting larger. One point four miles underground certainly feels like a considerable amount of distance. Thankfully, the portal wasn’t flooded, though, and the pumps were still doing the business, so we were able to climb the two palisade fences to escape. These haven’t been greased up yet either, so the risk of losing a testicle from slipping is slightly reduced. Explored with Ford Mayhem, Rizla Rider and Soul. Queensbury Tunnel Back in the Day Queensbury Tunnel Today 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15:
  3. History The construction of Caversham Tunnel, now a disused railway tunnel that was cut through a solid sandstone embankment, began in September 1871 in the Kaikorai Valley. Cutting work began on the Caversham side around the same time, but construction of that side of the tunnel did not begin until March 1872. Both sides were joined in almost perfect alignment on 26th September 1872. The 865-metre-long tunnel was fully completed by late February 1873, and a celebratory dinner was held to commemorate the occasion. The tunnel was officially opened for service by Sir Julius Vogel, the eighth premier of New Zealand (prime minister), in December 1873. A party made the first excursion of the line from Dunedin to the Green Island terminus which was located near the coal pits of Messrs Sampson and Brown. A celebratory luncheon was held in a nearby field on the same day. The first passenger service was run on the line in July 1874, from Dunedin to Green Island terminus. A one-way ticket cost fourpence, while a return-journey cost sixpence. Additional links, such as one to Balclutha via the Chain Hills, were later opened at the end of the 1870s. For the time it was operational, however, the tunnel is said to have claimed a total of three lives. In 1876, a Green Island police constable named Henry Vernon was hit by a train while walking through the tunnel. Later, in 1897, a farmer named Kenneth Kennedy fell from a train while it was passing through. And finally, in 1900 an assistant guard named Robert Burns slipped from the train while moving between carriages in complete darkness inside the tunnel. In spite of the seemingly high mortality rate, the service was used up until 1910, when a larger replacement dual line took over all rail traffic. The replacement line sits a few hundred metres away from the original Caversham Tunnel. Over the next few years the tunnel remained closed to the public and was almost forgotten, until there was a flood in 1923. Unfortunately, the deep cutting and tunnel provided a drainage conduit for the Kaikorai Stream which had burst its banks. As a result, the water was guided straight into the large flat areas of South Dunedin. Hundreds of people were forced to evacuate their homes, and many lost valuable possessions. It is reported that drainage issues with the tunnel were addressed at the outset of World War Two, when the tunnel was fitted out as an air raid shelter that could be used by the public in the event of an attack. After the war, ownership of the tunnel passed to the council. It was used during the sixties to lay electrical cables and sewage lines; however, the structure itself has since been left to slowly deteriorate. Lacking any means of proper drainage has resulted in the tunnel filling with thick mud and water, and it is now deemed a dangerous structure. To keep people out, the council erected a barbed wire fence around the Kaikorai Valley side, and a large gate on the Caversham portal. Although there have been talks to convert the tunnel into a pedestrian walk/cycleway, with locals offering to pay for the lighting, all formal proposal have been rejected due to ‘theoretical cost estimates’ and ‘drainage problems’. Our Version of Events After a long night of drinking ale and whisky, we were hungover as fuck as we made our way over to Caversham to seek out the legendary ‘secret tunnel of Dunedin’. According to local legend, the tunnel was said to be nestled among trees and concealed by the motorway. It took a fair bit of faffing around to find the exact location of the tunnel, and a little bit of running along the motorway (thankfully the motorways here are a lot different to European ones). With no footpath and a sharp drop to our right, we had to carefully choose a quiet moment and hit legs. With our vision slightly blurred, and everything swaying ever so slightly, we tried to keep our focus on the white painted line on the road as we jogged. With the taste of ale steadily returning to our mouths, jogging is all we could manage. By the time we reached the entrance to the tunnel, sweat was dripping from us. The post-alcohol effect was in full swing, but we were keen to get the tunnel under our belts. I stood in front of the wire fence and gazed up at the barbed wire fixed across the top for a while. I was waiting for it to stop moving so I could perhaps think about climbing over. The fence was spinning a little bit too, and no matter how hard we held it, it just wouldn’t stop moving. Eventually, though, we managed to get onto the other side. We headed down a set of old decayed wooden steps. They were covered in foliage and, consequently, we stumbled our way down them as some of them had completely disappeared altogether. At the bottom we reached a large number of pipes poking up from the floor, and a small hut just to the left of us. These, as we quickly discovered seemed to be part of Dunedin’s sewage system. Unfortunately, it was at that precise moment we became sober enough to notice the bubble-guts syndrome had begun. We were going to have to make this a quick explore, before nine pints of arse soup demanded to be set free from the trap doors. Stumbling over sewage pipes seemed to bring the sensation on ever more, so it was time to squeeze the cheeks together, tightly. One slight stagger over a pipe or tree root and that would be it. Disaster. Entering the tunnel itself wasn’t difficult from here. But, the reports about the mud certainly don’t exaggerate. The sludge was incredibly sticky and we very nearly lost our boots to it. The floor in the first sections resembled a swamp, and in parts was almost at welly breaching point. It’s was almost as if the sewage pipes were leaking… Things got a little easier further on though, for some of us. With the help of a very handy handrail on the right hand wall, The Mexican Bandit was able to climb onto a ledge of raised mud that seemed to have solidified. Using the slightly rubbery feeling ‘handrail’, which was caked in years of slimy grime, he made quicker progress. He continued like this for quite a few metres, leaving us swamp dwellers far behind, until something caught his eye. Squinting, to properly focus his vision in the dark conditions, he could make out a sign plastered onto the ‘handrail’. It read either ‘DANGER 600 VOLTS’, or ‘6000’. In the heat of the moment, his vision was playing tricks on him, adding zeros to the situation, but he swiftly let go in any case. Apparently wellies are excellent at preventing electrocution, but I guess he didn’t want to test that theory out. For the most part, Caversham Tunnel is a bit samey throughout. It’s a very different style to the railway tunnels we have in England though, so it felt quite unique being all natural rock rather than Victorian brick. There was a small brick section around 400 metres into the tunnel though, and for a very brief moment excitement made the hangover subside. Upon discovering that the brick section was more like an underground bridge, however, disappointment set in and the battle to hold the ale inside ensued once more. There were other interesting features of course, such as the millions of seashells which littered the floor (the swamp ends halfway through, and the remainder of the tunnel is relatively dry). They were all different shapes and sizes, but I have no idea why they were there. The final interesting feature to add to the growing list would be the sewer we found that runs beneath the main passageway. We’d managed to stumble across a semi-broken lid, so decided to have a peek inside to see if there was anything interesting. And behold, there was: Dunedin’s shit floating about right beneath our feet. And to be perfectly honest, whatever you’ve been eating Dunedin, you need to stop… Explored with Nillskill and The Mexican Bandit. South Dunedin Flood (1923) 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14:
  4. History Tanfield Railway claims to be the oldest working railway in the UK. The line runs for approximately three miles, between East Tanfield in County Durham, and Sunniside in Gateshead. It is difficult to pinpoint an exact date, but it is estimated that the first section of track was laid in the early 1600s, when a businessman named Huntingdon Beaumont commissioned the construction of a line from collieries near Blyth to a shipping point on the coast. The first line, however, did not last very long since it was built entirely out of wood; although the primitive railway was effective over short distances it soon became a costly affair as the wooden rails needed to be regularly replaced due to the harsh and boggy conditions that area often experiences. The Tanfield railway (which was originally known as a waggonway) that continues to exist to this day was built in 1725; it emerged one hundred years earlier than the first public line between Darlington and Stockton. Railways took the greatest hold in the North East of England, rather than canal ways, due to the deep valleys and hills in the region. Over the years Tanfield has become home to a growing collection of industrial steam engines and carriages; most of the stock dates from the 19th Century. The Marley Hill engine shed, built in 1854, is still used to store restored engines. There are currently three fully functioning machines at the site. Although the line to the shed closed in 1962, it continued to service other collieries railway locomotives in the North East. Part of the reason Tanfield Railway was preserved is attributable to the Marley Hill shed remaining open up until 1970. The vintage tools and machinery stored inside it are still capable of restoring an entire locomotive. A turntable also still exists at the site; this is long enough for most of the locomotives being stockpiled or restored. This turntable is known for being easy to turn by hand, if the load is evenly balanced. Presently, alongside operating the public railway, Tanfield works closely with Beamish Open-Air Museum; one of the locomotives restored at Marley Hill shed is displayed at Beamish Colliery. Our Version of Events Having picked up the buzz for trains back in New Zealand, we decided to head over to Tanfield Railway after hearing a rumour that a number of old locomotives and carriages are sat there slowly rotting away. We arrived in the afternoon – two suspicious looking characters – after a good morning exploring various parts of Newcastle and Gateshead, but luckily it wasn’t too busy (we thought it might have been since the site comprises part of an active public railway). After guessing where the abandoned trains were, using the very convenient public site map, we set off with the cameras and tripods. Several minutes later and we’d managed to get up to the trains and carriages without incident; although, the surrounding boggy land the railway workers had problems with back in the 1600s still appears to exist. As far as we could tell, most of the old cars and locomotives are stored in long rows (around six or seven of them), so exploring them and remaining hidden from the staff who operate the public line and workshops is made easy. For the most part, the site is good for a quick visit if you have nothing better to do, or are passionate about trains and the 19th Century; we found it particularly interesting. But, if you’re looking for something ‘epic’, you’re probably not going to find it here. Having said that, it does have an told turntable and we did manage to get inside one of the ‘protected’ first class carriages. For a brief moment we were able to bask in the former luxurious atmosphere made exclusively for the ‘finer citizens’ of the north. However, although the seating was particularly comfortable, we reached a unanimous decision that it was far too dusty and the toilet was broken to a degree that made it unsuitable for extended newspaper reading sessions. It looks like we’ll be sticking to Virgin Trains… One day, when we can actually afford a ticket. Explored with Ford Mayhem. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 21: 22: 23: 24: 25:
  5. History Paekakariki Railway Station opened in 1886, when the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company’s line from Longburn to Wellington opened. Despite the settlement’s small size, the decision to construct a station at this site was strategic, as more powerful engines were required to haul carriages and goods wagons over the steep hills between Paekakariki and Wellington. Lighter and more nimble engines were generally used to tackle easier going sections of straight track. By 1908, the New Zealand Railways Department (NZR) took over operations at the line; however, Paekakariki’s significance as an important depot remained unchanged. Steam engines were used up until 1940, when the company electrified the line between Paekakariki and Wellington. Subsequently, the depot was altered and it became the station where stream powered locomotives were changed for electric powered machines. Diesel locomotives were later used from the early 1950s onwards. As WWII continued, a large goods shed was constructed at the site by US marines, and the site became an important transfer point for goods; trains could reach key sea and airports from this area. The beginning of the 1960s marked a new era in New Zealand, when steam locomotives were becoming redundant. The depot at Paekakariki was no longer needed as a changeover site so it was subsequently closed, and the diesel engines which replaced steam were based out of Wellington instead. After the depot’s closure, the main engine shed was demolished, alongside a number of other original buildings. However, a group of steam enthusiasts who adopted the name ‘Steam Incorporated’ managed to acquire what was left of the remaining buildings: other engine sheds, two signal boxes, the station and platform, amenities buildings and a turntable. After acquiring the site a number of new engine sheds were constructed, to replace those that were demolished. The site, which is now fully owned by Steam Incorporated endeavours to restore New Zealand’s old trains and carriages, although a number of them have remained outside for many years and, for the most part, they have been left untouched and unchanged since arriving at the depot. Steam Incorporated intend to purchase as many of the old locomotives as possible and, rather ambitiously, aim to have them fully operational on the mainline tracks. Presently, steam engines are only permitted on heritage railways or as static monuments near the mainline. Our Version of Events With time for a little trip across New Zealand, three of us set off in a northern-ish sort of direction. Our first stop was somewhat unintentional as we stumbled across some old looking locomotives and carriages. Agreeing amongst ourselves that a good stretch of the legs was due, we decided to stop and have a quick look. Unfortunately, the site is very active, as most of it is either a museum or belongs to the ongoing restoration project. Although we were far enough away from the train station itself, there were a lot of people milling around the engine sheds, so we crept around the decaying carriages as quietly as possible to avoid being seen. Sadly, a lot of what has been left to decay outside is locked or securely boarded, presumably to keep out the local ‘bogans’, so we were only able to access a few bits here and there. On the whole though, given that the railway in New Zealand is significantly underdeveloped compared to European countries, it was a great opportunity to discover a little more about this side of New Zealand’s history and be able to view it first-hand. After spending a quick twenty minutes at the old depot, we’d managed to see all there was to see, so we jumped back in the car and cracked on in our effort to head north. Explored with Nillskill and Bane. 1: Paekakariki Railway Depot 2: Inside one of the Carriages 3: NZR Notices 4: No Throughfare 5: Second Class Seating 6: More Passenger Information 7: Emergency Stop Lever 8: Warning Sign 9: Second Class Door 10: Carriages and Tankers 11: Inside Another Similar Passenger Carriage 12: Old Goods Wagon 13: Inside a Goods Wagon 14: Goods Wagon External 15: Hostess Door 16: Old Engines 17: Last Train Before Reaching Restoration Workers
  6. Managed to bag some tickets for London's disused station, Aldwych. Not been south for a while, so got a nice early train down and had a good walk round for the day. Construction started on 21 October 1905 with demolition of the Royal Strand Theatre which occupied the site, it opened as Strand station on 30 November 1907. Both entrances had Piccadilly tube on their facades when the station opened. Not long afterwards, these were changed to Piccadilly RLY as the UERL disliked the word tube. The station was renamed Aldwych on 9 May 1915. The Aldwych service was suspended on 22 September 1940 and used as a shelter for the public during air raids. It opened again on 1st July 1946. The platforms and tunnels at Aldwych station are 92 feet and 6 inches below street level. From June 1958 the line began only in rush hours. It was eventually closed in 1994 when the original 1907 lifts needed urgent replacement and the cost could not be justified. Aldwych station and the trains have been used for many films, TV productions, music videos ( some listed below) and emergency services training. (Film) Superman 4 Atonement V for Vendetta The edge of love 28 weeks later The deep blue sea The Krays (Tv) Sherlock Mr selffridge (music) The Prodigys, firestarter A modified and expanded version of the station appears as a level in the video game Tomb Raider III. The station was the subject of an episode of most haunted in 2002. Im not a fan of of the show, but it starts with history into the station, which is pretty good. On with the pictures, Thanks for looking my friends
  7. Explored with @-Raz- & @Fatpanda after a series of car problems. History; Sandsend Tunnel is a tunnel on the former Whitby, Redcar and Middlesbrough Union Railway that was opened in 1883 and closed in 1958. The rail line that ran through it was originally intended to travel along the top of the cliffs, however some of the cliff fell into the sea whilst construction was suspended so the NER constructed two tunnels, the Sandsend tunnel and the Kettleness tunnel. The Sandsend Tunnel is the longer of two tunnels being 1,652 yards in length. It is predominantly straight but the north-western 300 yards incorporate a curve to the north. There are a total of five air shafts, two of which have nearby service galleries leading off horizontally to the cliffs which were used to dump spoil while carving out the tunnels, the air shafts were capped in 1958. The southern half of the tunnel is considerably damp with the tunnel being flooded to about 6 inches on the southern 300 yards. The southern portal of the Sandsend tunnel is bricked up and it can only be accessed via the northern portal of the Kettleness tunnel by walking through the Kettleness tunnel and the area between the tunnels which is overgrown with grass and trees. The northern portal of the Sandsend tunnel partially collapsed in 2008 after years of pressure from the cliff above. "It is not recommended to access the tunnels due to their poor condition; they have not been maintained since they were abandoned in 1958." - Both tunnels were in pretty good condition other than the odd bow in the wall from the pressure of the cliff above, which just goes to show how strong old school engineering really is Walking the lines; Parking in the hamlet of Kettleness we walked over the cliff tops to where we assumed the portal for the first tunnel was, crossing the farmers field wondering how secure it would be. On arrival however, it transpired that the NY council are a lot more laid back about railway tunnels then WY as instead of the normal palisade fortress, we found just a brick wall with a door sized hole in it. The tunnels itself was rather interesting as far as railway tunnels go, each featuring a mine adit filled with horrible orange, knee deep disgusting muddy water. Did i mention it wasnt very nice? Myself and @Fatpanda had left @-Raz- further up the tunnel so we went for a mooch down one of these. I would say it was about 100m from tunnel entrance to adit entrance, but 20 mins and up to the very limits of our wellies, i misplaced my foot whilst feeling for the next board and went in up to my lower thigh, which of course meant my welly filled to the brim. YUM! Rest of the photos; Tunnels; Mine Adits; Thanks for looking
  8. So as you all now know, Network Rail were kind enough to give us a tour of the lower levels of the Train Station as we had failed numerous times to reach these areas via stealth. Explored with Raz & Jord Bit of History; Leeds railway station (also known as Leeds City railway station) is the mainline railway station serving the city centre of Leeds in West Yorkshire, England. It is the second busiest railway station in England outside of London. It is located on New Station Street to the south of City Square, at the bottom of Park Row, behind the landmark Queens Hotel; it is one of 19 stations managed by Network Rail. God knows what that is in the corner of this photo... Leeds is an important hub on the British rail network. The station is the terminus of the Leeds branch of the East Coast Main Line which provides high speed inter-city services to London and is an important stop on the CrossCountry network between Scotland, the Midlands and South West England connecting to major cities such as Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Derby, Nottingham, Reading, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance. There are also regular inter-city services to major destinations throughout Northern England including Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield. It is also the terminus for trains running on the scenic Settle to Carlisle line. Leeds is a major hub for local and regional destinations across Yorkshire such as to York, Scarborough, Hull, Doncaster and Sheffield. The station lies at the heart of the Metro commuter network for West Yorkshire providing services to Bradford, Wakefield, Dewsbury, Huddersfield and Halifax. With nearly 28 million passenger entries and exits between April 2013 and March 2014, Leeds is the busiest railway station in the North of England and the second-busiest railway station in the United Kingdom outside London, after Birmingham New Street. The Tour; Jordan had arranged the trip underneath the station with a contact of his in the weeks beforehand, and they had agreed to show us the old offices and workings under the station, and we hoped that the rumours of the old ststion beneath the current one were true. Here are a few pics of where we were taken. We went through restricted areas such as the building works for the new south side entrace, through the British Transport Police car park, and of course through the warren of tunnels and corridoors which make up the bowels of this impressive termini. At one point our guide led us through a series of doors and down a shady elevator into the car park of the Queens Hotel... a very familar smell of the Dark Arches reached out nostrils and we soon found ourselves under the arches which we had already explored many times; http://www.oblivionstate.com/forum/showthread.php/9335-Dark-Arches-Revisit-July-15-(More-Photos) At this point we were all looking at each other with a slight smirk and sort of acting all like "Yeah this is cool, never seen this before... oh wow i bet its impossible to get down here" - AWKWARD!!!! And on the way out we nipped through the British Transport Police offices and as it turnes out they have a very pleasing staircase! Throughout this entire trip even though i knew i had permission to be there, i was shatting myself everytime a member of Network Rail staff came across us after a couple of years of avoiding security forces and workers!! Old habits die hard! So i leave you with this question, there is a massive amount of evidence to suggest the existance of a railway station beneath the current known working station, and we were given full access to the lower levels but we were not shown this... Is there more? Thanks for looking
  9. The Devon and Somerset Railway tunnels The Devon and Somerset a Railway (D&SR) was a cross country line that connected Barnstaple in Devon, to the network of the Bristol and Exeter Railway (B&ER) at Norton Fitzwarren, near Taunton. It was opened in stages between 1871 and 1873. The line length was 43 miles and incorporated 2 viaducts at Waterrow and Castle Hill and 4 tunnels. Running through a rural area, it never achieved great importance, although it carried through services to the seaside resort of Ilfracombe for a period. The line closed in 1966. Travelling in a westerly direction from Norton Fitzwarren, the first tunnel is Bathealton Tunnel (440 yards), positioned between the stations of Wiveliscombe and Venn Cross. The eastern portal The stonework had been lined with a concrete plaster at some point. Most of this lining has now failed due to the damp conditions. About halfway in and again towards the western portal, are sections that have been reinforced with concrete, leaving egg shaped galvanised tin passages. These would seem to coincide with minor road crossing above. Western portal The next tunnel, Venn Cross (246 yards) is about the mile up the line. The western portal would see you enter Venn Cross station. The stonework in here is fairly good and it's reasonably dry underfoot. Eastern portal The next tunnel on the line is Nightcote Tunnel, but at only 44 yards long, it's more of a long bridge, so I've not included it. Castle Hill tunnel (317yards) is found between the stations of South Molton and Filleigh. It's now in the grounds of a private country estate. This wasn't all bad news, as once I'd found the portal, I was delighted to find a lack of testicle piercing pallaside gates!! South portal Nice stonework, does get quite wet though. Shape changes near the North portal North portal Really enjoyed checking these out. You can bet your life that blood, sweat and tears, literally, went into the construction. Props to the guys that blasted and dug them out. Hope you enjoyed this little report. Thanks for looking.
  10. Intro I was up Norfolk/Suffolk for a few days and had a few visits planned, nothing went as it should and ended up feeling a bit rubbish. I needed somewhere I could sit on top of and relax for a bit. I found this and was incredibly glad I did. Sometimes you don't need to travel far to find what you're looking for. All fisheye, a bit gritty and a bit crap, but it was fun. Enjoy. History, present and future Then it was refurbished... ...Sort of http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/railway_bridge_footpath_reopens_as_630_000_refurbishment_of_vauxhall_bridge_in_great_yarmouth_is_completed_1_2819542 £630,000 and they only half finished it? The rotting side is slowly falling into further disrepair and you get the feeling it's loosing hope, It shouldn't be red, it never was originally and it doesn't look original or as characteristic as the black side. Shame, Hopefully it'll all be done up and they'll finish the job before it's too far gone falls into the Yare. The visit and pictures So it was one of those weeks Had a crappy few visits that didn't go as planned and didn't quite feel too brilliant I'd had a day of fails and then missed the train I was intending to catch After many wanders I'd found my way back and took a rest, I couldn't relax and needed to get up somewhere Google came to the rescue and then there I was I needed to get to this, at least do something and then there I was, in the end the trip wasn't wasted It had a lot of character and it was a great night, dark skies highlighted with clouds and a pretty strong wind blew the bridge sideways I was in and it felt relaxed, again you sit up somewhere and it's all the same, big rush, then you chill at the top, the pictures are always different but every time you climb down, you want to be back up again The thing swayed like anything but that added to it It had character and for some reason it just felt good to be there It wasn't even high, it was just fun, like a climbing frame that had been neglected, waiting for some numpty like me to sit on it Even better, the public wandered below me oblivious, to be fair, I was oblivious to them It was just silent The fresh air cleared my head but the wind was as if you were even higher up I clambered down and casually crossed back over on the public section right passed the locals Then I got to the point where you look back for one more look and then onto the next No tripod, No light but luckily I had a bit of time and bridge The images don't show it as it's best but that's not the reason I climbed it It was fun And it was windy I hope you enjoyed! Cheers
  11. UK Air Bridge

    An old footbridge that cannot be used by feet. By day By night The first time I lit the wire wool whilst balanced on the middle of the bridge I dropped it by accident and had to climb all the way down & back up to get the shot I wanted. Cue my entire vocabulary of 4 letter words!
  12. The southbound bore is open to the public as a cycle path, and I have visited many times over the years. But it is the closed northbound bore that has always held my interest. Firstly, due to the curve, you cannot see through it, unlike its counterpart. Secondly, it has a few items cluttering the tunnel, and thirdly, there are no photos on the internet of the inside of the tunnel. I first visited the twin tunnels in 1994, so was very lucky to finally see inside the closed tunnel. It was rewardingly very different from the public tunnel. Its curve leaving it pitch black in the centre, leaking water, bulging sides threatening collapse, unusual ceiling recesses, colours, and gated ends are all interesting features. An enjoyable explore with JuJu, KM Punk, & Stranton. The Northampton to Market Harborough line opened in 1859 and had tunnels at Great Oxendon and nearby Kelmarsh. The original tunnel was single-track (422M), and when the line was doubled a second single-track tunnel was built. The second tunnel had an airshaft, and is now a cycle path all the way to Northampton. The line closed in 1981. Thanks as always
  13. Germany Railway factory - visit 10/2014

    1. Bahnbetriebswerk rocked 01 by MiaroDigital, on Flickr 2. Bahnbetriebswerk rocked 02 by MiaroDigital, on Flickr 3. Bahnbetriebswerk rocked 03 by MiaroDigital, on Flickr
  14. 1. LokschuppenWest01 von MiaroDigital auf Flickr 2. LokschuppenWest02 von MiaroDigital auf Flickr 3. LokschuppenWest03 von MiaroDigital auf Flickr 4. LokschuppenWest04 von MiaroDigital auf Flickr 5. LokschuppenWest05 von MiaroDigital auf Flickr 6. LokschuppenWest06 von MiaroDigital auf Flickr 7. LokschuppenWest07 von MiaroDigital auf Flickr 8. LokschuppenWest08 von MiaroDigital auf Flickr
  15. First explore en route to Sheffield. Also visited the Doctor’s House, and one other fail. Still, 2 out of 3 is good, and the site that defeated us will get a return visit in the future. First tunnel I’ve been able to take the DSLR down, and despite how dark it is in there, I’m quite pleased with some of the results for a first attempt. The Hull & Barnsley line passed through the Barnsdale tunnel in a very straight 1226 yards in length, and was opened in the 1880's. The last passengers passed through in 1932, although goods trains worked through here until 1959. The three airshafts have been capped. capped airshaft The Wombat Eastern portal Thanks for looking
  16. This tunnel is an old favorite of mine so I returned to do some light painting, and catch some new shots in full summer overgrowth, and thought I would share the photos. The north portal is surrounded in undergrowth, whilst a grove of trees has grown around the south portal. The tunnel remains in excellent condition considering its age, and 50 year neglect. The good thing about derelict tunnels is its all natural decay, and unlike buildings, can’t get raped and pillaged by pikies. The tunnel is home to an assortment of rusting farm implements and tractors. refuge north portal Thanks for looking
  17. The web should be full of posts of the RAW (Reichsbahn Ausbesserungs-Werk) probably...was there in Oct 2013, I believe it�s the most colourful abandoned place I ever saw (might have exaggerated just a bit ;-) Lots of construction underway around, maybe high time to see... Cheers, Axel
  18. I see there are 2 posts of this place already in existence, ill not replicate with the history and just post me pics that are different, with my old point and shoot oh I had an interesting encounter with a van full of men, who shouted out they knew we where here and looked around a bit but didnt find us, alarmingly, where we were sitting very quietly............................... was a pile of used shotgun shells directly under the carriage!
  19. Abandoned railway tunnel in Oslo, Norway. One of my first splores. Location was shared with me by splorer I met in an abandoned building nearby, and when I was in the tunnel I met two others, one of them who's been my fellow splorer since :-).
  20. Found this, not sure if anyone has been down here, but some explorers have, link below. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Post_Office_Railway
  21. Visited with Scattergun and Stussy (and 2 non members) The station was opened on 10 August 1896 by the Glasgow Central Railway. The station building was on ground level, and the platforms were underground, beneath the Glasgow Botanic Gardens. It was closed between 1 January 1917 and 2 March 1919 due to wartime economy, and closed permanently to passengers on 6 February 1939, with the line being closed on 5 October 1964 cheers
  22. on the way back from visiting family in sunderland i saw this old factory building (now used to store bingo trucks ) and i had my camera and i really wanted to go in but secca was sitting at the front gate.it was impossible to get in another way so i had to go ask very nicely to see if i could wonder around and he was polite and said he was a temp so couldnt take the risk. i really didnt want to live empty handed so i settled for a railway would loved to have got more photos but the secca temp was getting twitchy so i decided to call it a day as i had better things todo than explaining why im taking picture of abandoned stuff *(if there's any spelling/grammar mistakes sorry about that but is my dyslexic )* fullset: http://www.flickr.com/photos/samcain/se ... 959718578/ so many abandoned building around the area but i didnt have time to even go in one
  23. Bit of a last minute explore, have looked at the site a few time before, but security and the fact it is rail land put me off, so i decided to have a chat with the security man and he said fine as long as we dont go inside any of the buildings.....i must have missed that last bit . Had a good look around but its all much the same, huge long rooms with cranes at the end, a huge carpet of bird crap and a nasty smell lol. Sections have been converted for use as small industrial units. Not a huge amount of info on the site apart from it was built in 1847, replacing a yard that was originally in New Cross, London. The works employed about 600 people in 1851 increasing to about 950 by 1861, and around 1,300 by 1882. A bit from wikipedia: In 1853 the Locomotive Superintendent James I. Cudworth built the first of ten 'Hastings' class 2-4-0 locomotives there. In 1855 these were followed by two freight engines. (An unusual feature of these was a dual firebox, each side fired alternately.) Over the next twenty years, Cudworth built 53 freight locomotives at Ashford and around 80 larger ones with six foot driving wheels, plus the first eight of his sixteen express passenger locos, the 'Mails', with seven foot drivers. He also produced four classes of 0-6-0 tank locomotives.[1] In 1878 James Stirling, the brother of Patrick Stirling of the Great Northern Railway took over and introduced a deal of standardisation. He believed in the benefits of the bogie and produced a class of 4-4-0 with six foot drivers and his '0' class freight with five foot drivers. He also produced over a hundred 0-4-4 tank engines, and in 1898 the 4-4-0 'B' Class.[12] The first Locomotive, Carriage & Wagon Superintendent for the South Eastern and Chatham Railway was H.S. Wainwright who produced a series of successful and elegant designs at Ashford. Wainwright's tender engines built at Ashford included 0-6-0 freight locomotives of the 'C' class, and the 4-4-0 passenger engines of the 'D' and 'E' classes. His tank engines built at the works included the versatile and long-lived 0-4-4 'H' class, the larger 0-6-4 'J' class and the diminutive 0-6-0 tank engines of the 'P' class. Wainwright was followed by R.E.L.Maunsell, who introduced the ultimately unsuccessful 'K' class 2-6-4 mixed traffic tank locomotives (which were later rebuilt into 2-6-0 tender locomotives), and the useful 'N' class 2-6-0 mixed traffic locomotives in 1917. However, more of the 'N' class locomotives were produced at the works, and parts for 'K' class locos that were assembled by Armstrong Whitworth of Newcastle upon Tyne.[12] In 1942 the works also built twenty of the Bulleid 'Q1' class 0-6-0, the remainder being built at Brighton Works.[13] During the later war years the works also built a number of the LMSR Stanier type 2-8-0 freight locomotives for the War Department.[14] The last of the 639 steam locomotives built there[10] was LMSR 2-8-0 No. 8674.[8] In 1937 it was involved with in the English Electric company in the construction of three experimental diesel-electric shunters[15][16] and after the war, Ashford works continued manufacturing a further series of 350 h.p. 0-6-0 diesel-electric shunters.[17] Under British Railways Ashford works built the first two of the Southern Region prototype 1Co-Co1 diesel electric locomotives of the D16/2 class numbered 10201 and 10202 in 1951.[10] In 1962 all locomotive production and repairs were moved to Eastleigh Spot Mr Security
  24. Well with nothing better to do one afternoon. I decided to investigate the cellar of this undisclosed station. Undisclosed why? Well I had to get permission to crack open the doors that lead to the cellar. The station in question is still very much operational I had a member of station staff guarding the big hole that my entrance left so as nobody fell in and as a result didn’t have alot of time to take photos. All that I can give away about the station is that it was rebuilt in approx 1898 and that all the buildings above the cellars are now Grade two listed. I’m hoping to get back into this cellar for a proper investigation as I was told that the subway that you will see in one of the photos, even thought partly collapsed, is stable (I hope so as two railway lines run over it ) And that this subway leads to the cellar on the other platforms. Entrance to this cellar is not possible as the doors have been sealed up and the hinges are weak. There are some nice old features in these cellars, as well as some modernish station features (Junk in other words ) Anyway on with the pics The first room you get to Back to the entrance. Notice the barrell rails on the stairs. The building above might have been a bar at one stage Stairs leading upto the buffet above. (The top of the stairs are now closed in) I love these double doors The subway Did someone really work down here? If they did it would have been a very noisy and dusty place to be, as steam trains would have been running at that era One of the modern(ish) bit of the station. The Ticker board Thanks for looking.
  25. i no its been done before but heres my pics main part cool old bikes entrance exit cool old fair ground
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