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Cadeby Tunnel, S.Yorks, December 2018

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HughieD

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1. The History
The Cadeby tunnel is one of the main features on the spur that runs from Wrangbrook Junction on the Hull to Barnsley line 12 miles to Denaby Main Colliery. The idea was first hatched in 1890 when the Denaby and Cadeby Colliery Company agreed to send a minimum of 310,000 tons of coal per year over the line to Hull for a period no less than least 21 years. Funded by the sale of 21,000 shares costing £10 each the agreement between the colliery company and contractor Joseph Firbank. His engineer Joseph Kincaid oversaw the construction of numerous earthworks and most significantly, Cadeby Tunnel. The single-track tunnel was 163 yards long and involved a curve to the north of approximately 25 chains in radius. The two portals were built in stone with triangular wing walls while the tunnel itself had near-vertical stone sidewalls to a height of approxmiately7 feet and a brick arch. The tunnel also included refuges at regular intervals, alternating between sidewalls, although it is unclear if these were part of the tunnel’s original construction or were inserted at a later date.

In February 1894 saw a legal case between rail worker Trenchard and the contractors Firbank. He had been marshalling wagons at Cadeby Tunnel when an engine was moved without causing some the wagons to rebound resulting in Trenchard losing a leg. He was eventually awarded £50 for his personal injuries under common law. Goods traffic commenced in September 1894 and then in December later in the year passenger services started between Pickburn & Brodsworth, Sprotborough and Denaby & Conisbrough. These proved unsuccessful and the service was withdrawn just nine years later in 1903. In 1908, a junction was established with the Doncaster-Sheffield line which creating a through route.

Picture of the tunnel during its operation © John Law

45641139604_7eff438241_o.jpgCadeby Old pic by HughieDW, on Flickr

The majority of the line was closed in August 1967, although a southern spur was retained to serve sidings at Middleton limestone quarry near Sprotborough. However, when this closed in 1975, the tunnel’s useful life came to an end. Since closure the tunnel’s western approach has been backfilled since closure, although the entrance remains open.

2. The Explore
Not too much to say here. Rocked up early one Sunday morning, walked down the footpath and turned right into the cutting and I was in. So, a relaxed little mooch, the silence only disturbed by the odd dog walker at the western end of the tunnel. It’s a cute little tunnel and pretty clean. It’s quite impressive how it is hidden away, and it looms out of nowhere. It is in good condition as mentioned earlier but just inside the western entrance the floor is a bit of a mud-fest.

3. The Pictures


The western portal:

45430609545_f71df08b59_b.jpgimg9875 by HughieDW, on Flickr

45431043465_83e9c53b9a_b.jpgimg9850 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The marshy bit just inside the western portal:

45619938804_92b9c6523e_b.jpgimg9873 by HughieDW, on Flickr

45619974754_bd46ea1fd0_b.jpgimg9871 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Walking towards the eastern portal, looking back west:

45430699465_f6d0b55e1c_b.jpgimg9867 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46343480071_ce4a0cfabd_b.jpgimg9864 by HughieDW, on Flickr

One of several refuges:

46343513431_bb9732c0fb_b.jpgimg9863 by HughieDW, on Flickr

…and another:

45430852555_0836154234_b.jpgimg9860 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The eastern end:

32471410498_4c5fb9a33d_b.jpgimg9861 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46343621381_7cfcff5240_b.jpgimg9859 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46343686801_14cfe36a99_b.jpgimg9851 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The eastern portal:

31404267187_4f141b5a29_b.jpgimg9855 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 
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Sabtr

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Nice that.
Appears to be built in a simpler way. You can see definite 'moments' during the tunnels construction - it would be those variants in build that would save the hole lot dropping should one section fail.

The tunnel reminds me of one that sits to the west of Alnwick in Northumberland - close to the combine harvester graveyard.
 

Dirus_Strictus

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Walked a good few miles up and down here in my early working days. The refuges are shown on the original construction drawings and the 'sectionalised' construction is all down to a newly devised tunnelling 'shield' that was being tried out during this tunnels construction. This was all due to the local geology being very 'iffy' for the labour intensive tunnelling techniques in use at that time. The massively constructed retaining walls mentioned by Hughie were/are required to stop the lower edge of the cut wall face moving inwards - again all due to local geology, whilst the upper arch work was cut back and brick lined.
 

Sabtr

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Walked a good few miles up and down here in my early working days. The refuges are shown on the original construction drawings and the 'sectionalised' construction is all down to a newly devised tunnelling 'shield' that was being tried out during this tunnels construction. This was all due to the local geology being very 'iffy' for the labour intensive tunnelling techniques in use at that time. The massively constructed retaining walls mentioned by Hughie were/are required to stop the lower edge of the cut wall face moving inwards - again all due to local geology, whilst the upper arch work was cut back and brick lined.


I've seen very similar methods of construction in old mines and why I'd mentioned it. Far better to lose one section should it fail than the failed bit dragging the rest down with it.

The geology part fascinates me. I imagine the strata will have some slippery layers within it and why the tunnel is so.
 

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