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UK Wapping Railway Tunnels, Liverpool - January 2016

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The Explore

So after a few unsuccessful attempts in the city centre and a brief visit to Newsham Hospital morgue we headed to meet a friend to explore some underground tunnels. Something very different for me as only ever really explored buildings but the history of this tunnel was a great place to start.

 

The History

Running to Crown Street Station, 1829. Built by George Stephenson, a single track tunnel 291 yards long was bored from the deep cutting at the Edge Hill junction to Crown Street, to serve the world's first passenger railway station. However the tunnel is: The dilapidated state of the Cutting today. The left 1846 tunnel is used for parking trains. The others tunnels are disused.  The dilapidated state of the Cutting from the air. Looking from the east  The 1846 Tunnel at the bottom - looking from the west. The cutting is at the top.

 

The oldest rail tunnel in the world running under streets

The second oldest rail tunnel in the world after the very short 1804 tunnel at Pentrebach, Merthyr Tydfil.

 

Being too far from Liverpool city centre, the passenger station was abandoned in 1836 in favour of Lime Street. The area was converted for freight use.

 

An additional two track tunnel was bored through to Crown Street from the Edge Hill cutting in 1846, to increase traffic to the freight yard. The head of this tunnel was initially cut to about 3 metres deep in 1829 and used as a store room. The freight yard was closed in 1972 along with the original 1829 Stephenson tunnel. The Crown Street portal is landscaped over showing no trace of the tunnel at Crown Street apart from an incline of grass near the tall brick Wapping tunnel ventilation shaft, which was initially in the passenger station and then freight yard.

 

The historic 1929 Crown Street Tunnel is partially collapsing at the Crown Street end, due to lack of maintenance, as the subsidence in the street surface above indicates.

 

 

This is how the tunnels looked back in the day...

 

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Things aren't quite as grand now unfortunately...

 

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Looking directly up the air shaft

 

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And finally the still used track were trains are occasionally backed in and parked

 

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