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Thread: Spinkhill Railway Tunnel, Derbyshire, March 2018

  1. #1
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    Default Spinkhill Railway Tunnel, Derbyshire, March 2018


    1. The History
    Depending on the reports you read Spinkhill Tunnel is either 497 or 501 yards long! It was originally opened by the Lancashire, Derbyshire and East Coast Railway (later the LNER) on 21st September 1898. It was the only tunnel on its Beighton Branch which ran north westwards from Langwith Junction to Beighton Junction. See below for a track map:

    Spinkhill2 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Trains from the south approached through a vertically-sided rock cutting into the south portal built predominantly of brick but featuring stone copings and oversail. The tunnel then curves to the west and then straightens. The rails then emerge out of the north portal which is more substantial than the south one. As with most tunnels the construction was not accident free. On 14th January 1896, a labourer was moving a wagon in the tunnel when he lost control of it due to defective brakes, resulting in his shoulder being crushed. However this was not a fatal accident fortunately.

    The tunnel officially opened on 21th September 1898 and was absorbed into the Great Central’s empire nine years later. The Beighton Branch lost its local passenger traffic at the outbreak of the Second world War. It remained open for excursions, diversions and coal transport. Archive picture below:

    Spinkhill1 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The line through the tunnel was finally closed on 9th January 1967. The track was lifted although the tracks to the north remained in use until 1984 for wagon storage and shunting at Westthorpe Colliery, Killamarsh.

    The tunnel is now pretty much stripped. Towards the north end are two brackets on the west sidewall which might have held a gong, providing an audible indication of Spinkhill’s Home signal. The tunnel is generally dry except for the the northern entrance. Overall the tunnel is in good condition structurally, save cracks that have appeared in one of the buttresses at the north portal.

    The tunnel is privately owned and, over the winter, is used for cattle storage. In the last three years a series of large concrete blocks have been placed at the north entrance of the tunnel in an attempt to keep people from entering the tunnel.

    2. The Explore
    After a fail at Millmoor Football ground in Rotherham (demo team and huts now on site) myself and two non-members reverted to Plan B and piled down the M1 to Spinkhill Tunnel. When we parked up and made our way down the bank and along the muddy track-bed the tunnel soon came into view through the undergrowth. Much to our surprise there was a series of large concrete blocks blocking the north portal. None of the pictures I saw on-line document this. The last picture I could find was from February 2015 and the entrance was open. It must have been some effort getting these huge Lego concrete blocks down there. For some bizarre reason on the top fourth layer, instead for putting blocks all the way across they left two spaces (see picture below). This, fortunately for us, meant we were able to scale the wall and drop down on the other side in the tunnel. We then immediately faced a water hazard which we negotiated with a strategically placed log. The tunnel itself is in good nick and we had a good hour or so down here. The far end has a wire fence 20 metres into the tunnel to keep livestock penned in at the southern end but a hole in it meant we could slip out and have a look at the southern portal. Overall a nice little wander.

    3. The Pictures

    Road bridge near Spinkhill over the branch line:

    img5634 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Old railway post:

    img5635 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The entrance appears out of the mist:

    img5636 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    More former trackside debris:

    img5639 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Central drainage channel near the north portal:

    img5641 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Obligatory “knob” graffiti:

    img5644 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img5645 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And in we go:

    img5650bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img5651 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Looking down towards the south entrance the curvature of the tunnel can clearly be seen:

    img5659 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Iron-bearing mud seeping through bleed holes in the tunnel:

    img5664 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    One of the many refuges in the tunnel:
    img5667 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Southern end of the tunnel in sight:



    img5672 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img5673 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And out we pop:

    img5685 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Full-frontal of the southern portal:

    img5697 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img5698bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img5701 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img5704 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    This shot looks like a Cure album cover…

    img5709bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And back to the northern portal again:

    img5711 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img5713 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    One last look at the northern portal:

    img5718 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    …and back on the road to nowhere:

    img5720 by HughieDW, on Flickr
    Last edited by HughieD; 13th Mar 18 at 09:24.

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    Thanks given by: DaddyFatSax, Hugh Jorgan, Infraredd, krela, Mearing, Mikeymutt, mtc3154, noiseboy72, Old Wilco, oldscrote, prettyvacant71, psykie, Rubex, smiler, The Wombat, theartist, thorfrun, Tigershark

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  3. #2
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    Nice that one mate.it looks like a castle wall ha ha.nice reflective shot of it too.strange how it's not sealed the other end.and only a few feet high wallthe other end.must be a reason.maybe live stock reason again.has that got a curve in the tunnel.great set pal and shots
    I like to go where others fear to tread.

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    Thanks given by: HughieD

  4. #3
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    Looks good Hughie. Strange how it's unsealed.

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    Thanks given by: HughieD

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    Good shots Hughie, I liked it, Thanks
    Smiler
    😁

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    Thanks given by: HughieD

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    [QUOTE=Electric;351824 Strange how it's unsealed.[/QUOTE]

    Not really - it is privately owned and obviously the owner is not bothered by H&S issues arising. However as tunnel is still in good nick, might as well keep it well ventilated and make a useful store in winter. You will find that it is only tunnels in 'public' owner ship that are or tend to be 'sealed' or have been at some point in time. Spent many sodding hours - always in winter - checking interiors and testing the atmosphere in similar disused places. Would have made a nice summer ramble, but these places tend to be wettest in winter, Sod's Law again!

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    Thanks given by: Electric

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    Nice post and a good write up. Was a double-tracked tunnel and has a bend at the south portal.
    When the going gets tough - the tough get going.

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    Thanks given by: HughieD

  8. #7
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    Very well shot HughieD :)

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    Thanks given by: HughieD

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    Some great research HD! Love that "Cure shot" lovely lit tunnels!
    ...

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    Thanks given by: HughieD

  10. #9
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    Fantastic shots mate.
    Was always on the agenda, but never got round to this one.
    Also bemused by the sealing at one end
    Good work
    Black cat exploring company
    & LSD - Leicester Super Derpers

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  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Jorgan View Post
    Nice post and a good write up. Was a double-tracked tunnel and has a bend at the south portal.
    A bend in a tunnel is rare innit?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rubex View Post
    Very well shot HughieD :)
    Cheers Rubex!

    Quote Originally Posted by prettyvacant71 View Post
    Some great research HD! Love that "Cure shot" lovely lit tunnels!
    Cheers PV...circa 17 Seconds isn't It?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Wombat View Post
    Fantastic shots mate.
    Was always on the agenda, but never got round to this one.
    Also bemused by the sealing at one end
    Good work
    Cheers Mr Wombat. Yeah me too. Think it's due to it being so easily accessed from the north.

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    Thanks given by: Hugh Jorgan, Rubex

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