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Haddon Tunnel, Derbyshire, November 2017

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HughieD

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1. The History

Haddon Tunnel is located in the English county of Derbyshire. It was built by the Midland Railway in 1863 as an extension of its Buxton branch-line, into the Peaks, linking the afore-mentioned Buxton with Matlock. The line was born out of the Midland Railway’s rivalry with the London & North Western (LNW) to secure a strategic rail route between London and Manchester. The first section was the 15-mile extension of the Rowsley line into Buxton, authorised in May 1860. The 1,058-yard long tunnel was constructed to hide the railway from the view of the Duke of Rutland where the line passed Haddon Hall. The tunnel is close to the surface and was, in the main, built by the 'cut and cover' method. So much so that towards its southern end, it is now possible to walk alongside the tunnel at track level, such is the shallowness of the fill and gradient of the slope. It included five ventilation shafts with one being the full width of the double-track tunnel. Shortly after the headings met on Tuesday 2nd July 1861, an arch collapsed killing three men and a boy, wounding another so seriously that he died the following day (see picture below). John Millington, George Buckley, James Bird, James Clarke and the young Alfred Plank are honoured by a simple memorial in the churchyard at Rowsley. The railway paid £100 (equivalent to £8,781 in 2016) compensation to each of their families.

26775271669_b4d074d1cd_o.jpghaddon-5 by HughieDW, on Flickr


Unsurprisingly the 1963 Beeching Report saw the withdrawal of the local Matlock-Buxton/Manchester services. The line’s complete closure to through traffic was determined by a confidential 1964 study into ‘duplicate’ trans-Pennine routes (April 1966, saw the introduction of electric haulage for Manchester-Euston services on the West Coast Main Line). From October that year freight and parcels were diverted instead via the Hope Valley line. The announcement about the cessation of passenger expresses followed soon after and on Saturday 29th June 1968 the last passed through Haddon Tunnel. The Up line was lifted just a year later in June 1969 and the recovery of the Down line the following summer. Following closure, the track-bed and tunnel was reincorporated into the Haddon Estate.

A southbound ‘Peak’ Class 45-hauled passenger train emerges from the tunnel in August 1961 (photo credit: J R Morten).

26775232239_a5fd114206_o.jpghaddon old pic by HughieDW, on Flickr

A long campaign by Peak Rail and others culminated in a feasibility study by Derbyshire County Council in 2004, the Haddon Estate being a major opponent of the plan.

Peak Rail still plans to extend their heritage rail services via both "Rowsley railway station" and a proposed "Haddon" Halt towards Bakewell. This would require additional restoration of the old tunnel itself and both Rowsley and Coombes Road Viaducts, plus reinstating the Bakewell station site to its original condition by the year 2016.

2. The Explore

Can’t beat a bit of tunnel action! This place only comes up know and again due to its rural location (see Mikeymutt’s excellent recent report). I have had this place on my radar for a while so when a chance to explore it in the excellent company of Tarkovsky (and his multiple torch assault!) came up, we both headed over to this beautiful corner of God’s county. It really is a superb tunnel. It’s got everything: length, open sections, portals. The only thing it doesn’t have is the grand entrances some other tunnels offer.

Entry has always traditionally been from the Northern portal, so this is where we headed. Having parked up it was a pleasant mile long walk from the viaduct at Coombe’s Road along the former track bed. We spent a good hour and a half in the tunnel itself. When we reached the end much to our surprise the iron door on the south portal was wide open, affording us a view of the southern tunnel’s façade.

Overall a superb explore in the good company in beautiful countryside.

3. The Pictures

The viaduct that heralds the start of our adventure:

38546386581_d2ed34a09b_b.jpgimg3974 by HughieDW, on Flickr

37830466994_9c803f7051_b.jpgimg3970 by HughieDW, on Flickr

It’s a lovely walk along the course of the former track-bed:

37664011455_6fa04b65b5_b.jpgimg3965 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This old track-side worker’s hut was worth a quick shufty:

38495666096_64a167943e_b.jpgimg3956 by HughieDW, on Flickr

37835678774_f2196be204_b.jpgimg3954 by HughieDW, on Flickr

26776193099_b775ccf25c_b.jpgimg3952 by HughieDW, on Flickr

There’s also what appears to be an empty estate house too:

37664039705_3e88a4ffb3_b.jpgimg3964 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And just for good measure, there’s a bit of farm abandonment:

38520203482_d59f6cb187_b.jpgimg3961 by HughieDW, on Flickr
38520233062_58a07e571c_b.jpgimg3959 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The northern portal comes into sight:

img3949 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And the entry point is open!

24679793098_cf9c2a4008_b.jpgimg3829 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View towards the north-west direction:

38491072336_bcb45d80f5_b.jpgimg3833 by HughieDW, on Flickr

One of the many drainage windows:

24674988608_1163757cb3_b.jpgimg3837 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Onward we push:

26771451119_c87b22a005_b.jpgimg3842 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A square worker’s recess:

37831165904_05a07d38ee_b.jpgimg3846 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Portal no.1:

37831112344_63e939f002_b.jpgimg3854 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A hint of Autumn through the same portal:

24674849078_e4d30e6a2b_b.jpgimg3859 by HughieDW, on Flickr

One of the only sleepers still in situ in the whole tunnel:

38547149131_b3f1b4a69d_b.jpgimg3869 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A very wet portal number 2:

38547066791_1113237da7_b.jpgimg3879 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Portal No. 3 – but more of an open-air section:

24674663628_8683257ffc_b.jpgimg3896 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Where nature has been able to get a grip:

37659271415_ac56156538_b.jpgimg3905 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The famous tree in the open section:

26771122679_6709fe1d52_b.jpgimg3909 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And more than a hint of Autumn here:

26771089399_48579ef87e_b.jpgimg3913 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A brick-lined worker’s recess:

24674489598_b1b57b95e4_b.jpgimg3917 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Onward we go:

24674448448_99a9c93c04_b.jpgimg3927 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Trying out a bit of black and white:

38490543176_d254310937_b.jpgimg3933bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

26770902459_2185384819_b.jpgimg3934 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And out we pop!

38490418066_52484af95e_b.jpgimg3946 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A track-side hut outside the southern portal:

38490457006_0b9eb16e75_b.jpgimg3944 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Now for the long walk back!

Thanks for looking.
 
Last edited:

tarkovsky

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Good work. Enjoyed this visit (thanks for letting me be lazy and doing all the finding!) and this report. Always good to see what photos other people get in the same place - you noticed stuff I didn’t.
 

Hugh Jorgan

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Nicely done. The recess you mentioned are called a refuge where if a line walker examining the line should see a train approaching then this is where he would go. The tunnel is still in good looking condition apart from a little wet.
 

HughieD

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Nicely done. The recess you mentioned are called a refuge where if a line walker examining the line should see a train approaching then this is where he would go. The tunnel is still in good looking condition apart from a little wet.

Cheers Hugh - that's it - 'refuge' is the word I was after.
 

Brewtal

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Nicely done matey, great mix of both natural and artificial light in the tunnels, you got some great results and some stunning pics. Enjoyed that, cheers!
 

Mikeymutt

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A beautiful set hughie.and thank you for the mention.yiu deffo saw more than me.like the viaduct and hut.liked both of them.its such a stunning tunnel.think it will take some beating
 

HughieD

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A beautiful set hughie.and thank you for the mention.yiu deffo saw more than me.like the viaduct and hut.liked both of them.its such a stunning tunnel.think it will take some beating

Cheers Mikey. Wished we'd come back over the top now and got some externals of the ventilation shafts.

I can't wait to visit this one myself. Excellent set HughieD :)

Cheers Rubex - deffo worth a trip so get it on your list!

Thanks Hughie. Great report. Really enjoyable for a railway enthusiast like me.

Ha ha...glad to be of service Sir!

While I'm on, a few phone shots I forgot to add to the original report:

On the inside looking out:

38596211171_20279b91a1_b.jpg20171118_140549 adj by HughieDW, on Flickr

Some sort of can:

24723850408_dee880bc45_b.jpg20171118_140223 adj by HughieDW, on Flickr

B+W take on one of the ventilation shafts:

38596212651_7751d17c2b_b.jpg20171118_134108 bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

The middle ventilation shaft(no.3):

38596214681_ba201fc7b5_b.jpg20171118_132212 adj by HughieDW, on Flickr

Shaft no.4:

24723853308_b54f40a9c1_b.jpg20171118_130244 adj by HughieDW, on Flickr
 

prettyvacant71

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Just love that shot of the single tree rooted in the brickwork, the autumn colours bonus! Such great lighting too, ambient and torch amazin job HD! Never seen this before, I like!
 
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