- Jun 5, 2014
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The engineering company J.E. Billups of Cardiff who also constructed Mireystock Bridge and the masonry work on the Lydbrook viaduct commenced construction of the tunnel in 1872 using forest stone. The tunnel is 221 metres in length and took 2 years to construct. The tunnel allowed the connection of the Severn and Wye Valley railway running from Lydney with the Ross and Monmouth network at Lydbrook. The first mineral train passed through the tunnel on 16 August 1874. Passenger services commenced in September 1875 pulled by the engine Robin Hood.
The history of this section of line is not without incident - a railway ganger was killed in the tunnel by a train in 1893 and a locomotive was derailed by a fallen block of stone in the cutting at the northern entrance in 1898.
The line officially closed to passenger trains in July 1929 but goods trains continued to use the line until the closure of Arthur & Edward Colliery at Waterloo in 1959 and Cannop Colliery in 1960. Lifting of the track was completed in 1962. The tunnel and cutting were buried with spoil in the early 1970's.
Thanks to the vision and enthusiasm of a group of local Forest railway enthusiasts assisted by Forest Enterprise the top of the northern portal of the tunnel (with its unusual elliptical shape) which has lain buried for 30 years has now been exposed.
As of 2018 the tunnel now still lays abandoned with no sign of the cycle track and the £50,000 funding seemingly gone to waste.
Thanks for looking