Kelmarsh closed tunnel (The Rat holes), Northants, Feb15

Help Support Derelict Places:

The Wombat

Regular Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2013
Messages
1,686
Reaction score
2,703
Location
Leicestershire
I heard this place was doable, so when a free slot arrived, dashed over to have a look. Met up with Infrared, and his box of light painting tricks.

The southbound bore is open to the public as a cycle path, and I have visited many times over the years. But this is my first visit to the gated northbound bore, and although not as packed with features as it’s cousin at Great Oxendon, I still found plenty to photograph inside. There is no airshaft in the closed tunnel, and it’s authentically still soot covered.

Finally getting to grips with my new wide angle lens. Thanks to Infrared for showing me some more of his light painting tricks.


The Northampton to Market Harborough line opened in 1859 and had tunnels at Great Oxendon and nearby Kelmarsh. The original tunnel was single-track (480M), and when the line was doubled a second single-track tunnel was built. The second tunnel had an airshaft, and is now a cycle path all the way to Northampton. The line closed in 1981.

IMG_4350.jpg


IMG_4364.jpg


2 Wombats; 1 Frame
IMG_4372.jpg


IMG_4383.jpg


IMG_4380.jpg


IMG_4398.jpg


IMG_4403.jpg


south portal
IMG_4417.jpg


IMG_4419.jpg


Courtesy of Infrared's light painting tools
IMG_4430.jpg


IMG_4447.jpg


I've tried to capture both tunnels in the same frame, but even with the wide angle, I couldn't get far enough back
IMG_4448.jpg


THE OPEN TUNNEL
IMG_4464.jpg


this shot was taken a couple of years ago in the open tunnel
IMG_1951.jpg

thanks for looking :)
 

paymaster

Regular Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2012
Messages
30
Reaction score
14
Location
Bromley, Kent
I'm not a railway person but it seems odd to me to have such a short tunnel (s) when they do not appear to be very deep. Would it have been more cost effective to have a cutting instead.
 

krela

Administrator
Joined
Sep 20, 2005
Messages
10,017
Reaction score
5,818
Location
Bristol, UK.
I'm not a railway person but it seems odd to me to have such a short tunnel (s) when they do not appear to be very deep. Would it have been more cost effective to have a cutting instead.

Not every landowner wanted to see trains running across their land. Sometimes tunnels were the only way to get landowners to allow the railways to pass near them. Don't forget that when they were originally built they were commercial ventures built without the compulsory purchase orders used now.
 

Dirus_Strictus

Regular Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2008
Messages
1,888
Reaction score
1,628
Location
Rawdon Leeds
I'm not a railway person but it seems odd to me to have such a short tunnel (s) when they do not appear to be very deep. Would it have been more cost effective to have a cutting instead.

As Krela correctly states, tunnels were there to hide the railway in a number of cases. However in many cases tunnels were the cheapest way of crossing certain areas. Due to the geology of the planned route, in some cases using a cutting would have meant excavating huge amounts of spoil at considerable distances from the trackway - this being necessary to ensure that new 'landscape' was left in a stable state. The large excavations and the resulting vast amounts of spoil to be disposed of were just not cost effective in some cases. It must also be remembered that in Victorian times, there were vast numbers of highly skilled tunnellers and tunnel liners - most of these learnt their trade building the huge brick lined sewers for the ever expanding cities of the period.
 

BikinGlynn

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2014
Messages
1,834
Reaction score
3,401
Rode through the open one for the last 20yr, can anyone explain why one would have a vent but not the other given that they are the same length?
 

Dirus_Strictus

Regular Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2008
Messages
1,888
Reaction score
1,628
Location
Rawdon Leeds
Rode through the open one for the last 20yr, can anyone explain why one would have a vent but not the other given that they are the same length?

Simple really - experience of smoke log in tunnels and increased traffic. In some tunnels the lie of the land at each end actually helps to set up a natural 'draft' or ''draw'; however, in other tunnels there needs to be a ventilation shaft or shafts to achieve this. In this instance a look at old records will reveal a substantial increase in traffic, thus the sensible addition of an airshaft when building the second tunnel.
 

The Wombat

Regular Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2013
Messages
1,686
Reaction score
2,703
Location
Leicestershire
Simple really - experience of smoke log in tunnels and increased traffic. In some tunnels the lie of the land at each end actually helps to set up a natural 'draft' or ''draw'; however, in other tunnels there needs to be a ventilation shaft or shafts to achieve this. In this instance a look at old records will reveal a substantial increase in traffic, thus the sensible addition of an airshaft when building the second tunnel.

Another comprehensive reply from DS; thanks again.

The same thing at nearby Oxendon tunnels. Originally a single track line, and when doubled, an airshaft was built on the new tunnel. In both the old tunnels, the ceiling is black with soot.
I would guess that when the line was opened to the public as a cycle path, it was was sensible to open the newer tunnels, with airshafts in both Kelmarsh & Oxendon. They make some interesting features
 

stu8fish

Regular Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2014
Messages
322
Reaction score
470
Location
Guildford ish.
Some great shots there.
I looked at the tunnels on the Midhurst line recently but they were all inaccessible.
Shame as tunnels and light painting go so well together.
 
Top