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UK Longbridge Tunnels, Birmingham. Nov 2015

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Longbridge Tunnels

Visited during an interesting nights exploring in Brum with Lenston.

Here's some history shamelessly lifted from from his excellent report:

The ‘Shadow Factory Tunnels’ are the remnants of Lord Austin’s secret plans that were hatched to bolster British military might in the face of German military aggression in the arms race that led up to the start of the Second World War.

This was where munitions workers produced the Merlin engines that powered the Spitfires and Hawker Hurricanes used to regain control of the British skies during the Battle of Britain in 1940.

The Shadow Scheme involved two parts - building nine new factories and extending existing factories - including the Longbridge plant.

Australian-born industrialist and Conservative MP, Lord Austin - also the founder of Austin Motors - had already contributed to the war effort in the First World War, turning his factories to munitions and engine production.

After the war, the factory returned to producing automobiles and the tunnels were abandoned.

By the late 1960s, the Longbridge plant was the second largest car plant in the world.

But since the collapse of MG Rover, part of the site was redeveloped for housing and commercial purposes

Here's the iconic shot of ladies building the engines during the war

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And on with some shonky pics.

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Lenston doing what he does best :D

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Some sections had been painted and were really well preserved

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That bin......

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Thanks for looking :thumb

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Amazing that there's still a few bits and pieces left from it's days as part of the Rover plant. Nice report mate, thanks for posting it. :thumb

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    • By Lenston
      History 
       
      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.
       
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      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.
       
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