Tynal Tywyll, Lon Las Ogwen – Dinas Railway Tunnel

Dinas Tunnel – the former branch-line railway tunnel between Tregarth and Bethesda, known informally as Tynal Tywyll (dark tunnel).

Date

4 April 2020

Location

Dinas Tunnel, Lon Las Ogwen, Tregarth
SH 60818 68185; 53.19247°N, 4.08473°W

Information

Further Reading

Tynal Tywyll
All posts about Dinas Tunnel;
Lon Las Ogwen

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Tynal Tywyll, Lon Las Ogwen – Dinas Railway Tunnel

Dinas Tunnel – the former branch-line railway tunnel between Tregarth and Bethesda, known informally as Tynal Tywyll (dark tunnel).

Date

14 May 2017

Location

Dinas Tunnel, Lon Las Ogwen, Tregarth
SH 60818 68185; 53.19247°N, 4.08473°W

Information

In 1884 a four-mile-long, single track branch line of the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) from Bangor to Bethesda opened to passengers, linking to the Chester and Holyhead main line just outside Bangor. The route included Dinas Tunnel, a 297-yard-long (272 m), single-bore tunnel approached from the Bangor (northern) end through a sheer-faced rock cutting. On exiting the tunnel at the Bethesda (southern) end, the track crossed the Ogwen river over the Bryn Bella Viaduct. Increasing competition from buses led to the closing of passenger services on the branch line in 1951, with the line finally closing to all traffic in 1963.

In 2016 Gwynedd Council set aside £200,000 and secured an additional £230,000 from the Welsh Government in order to develop the disused tunnel so as to open a new section of the Lon Las Ogwen ‘multi-user’ path. This 11-mile-long cycle route follows parts of the trackbeds of the narrow-gauge Penrhyn Quarry Railway and the standard-gauge LNWR branch line and has until now been interrupted by a mile-long detour around the tunnel by road.

The development work was carried out by Trawsfynydd-based contractor G H James and involved: securing the rockface in the cutting; lighting the tunnel; installing safety railings on the viaduct parapets; and clearing and surfacing the path. The new 800-metre-long section of the route opened in May 2017.

Further Reading

All posts about Dinas Tunnel;
Lon Las Ogwen

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Fan Bay Deep Shelter

Fan Bay Deep Shelter

Fan Bay Deep Shelter

Date

26 October 2016

Location

Fan Bay, Dover, Kent
TR 35178 42814; 51.13626°N, 1.36035°E

Information

In 2012 the National Trust raised £1.2 million to purchase a 0.8-mile-long stretch of the White Cliffs of Dover to fill a gap in the five miles of coastline it already owned, the first stretch having been bought in 1968. The newly acquired section included Fan Bay and a team of 50 National Trust volunteers worked from 2013 to 2015 to clear the deep shelter there, in the process removing 30 tonnes of rubble from the 125 steps down into the shelter and a further 100 tonnes from the tunnels 70 feet (21 metres) below the surface.

During World War II the site of two World War I sound mirrors at Fan Bay was chosen as the location of a new artillery battery comprising three six-inch guns. The facility was constructed in 1940-41 and the deep shelter was excavated to serve as a bomb-proof shelter for the station’s personnel.

Further Reading

Fan Bay Deep Shelter an excavation of epic proportions (National Trust)

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Kingsway Tunnel

Kingsway Tunnel

Kingsway Tunnel

Date

23 May 2015
Location

Liverpool to Wallasey

SJ 34465 91503; 53.41622°N, 2.98748°W

Information

A railway tunnel below the River Mersey, linking Liverpool with the Wirral peninsula, was opened in 1886. However, by the 1920s there were growing problems with traffic congestion from motor vehicles waiting for ferries to cross the river. Construction of the Queensway Tunnel was therefore started in 1925 with the tunnel opening in 1934. At 2 miles long, this was at the time the world’s longest underwater tunnel. The 1.5-mile-long, twin-tube Kingsway Tunnel was opened in 1971 after five years’ construction as a second toll road crossing in order to alleviate congestion in the Queensway Tunnel. The Kingsway is currently used by some 45,000 vehicles per day and the Queensway by 35,000. In November 2014 it was announced that plans for an £8 million, two-year project to replace the Kingsway Tunnel’s original lighting with 1,700 LED lights had been approved. The work is to be carried out during scheduled maintenance closures and is set to save £66,000 in electricity costs per year.

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Chirk Tunnel and Aqueduct

Looking towards the south portal of the 421m-long Chirk Tunnel

Looking towards the south portal of the 421m-long Chirk Tunnel

Date

3 April 2015
Location

Chirk, Wrexham County Borough

SJ 28672 37378; 52.92904°N, 3.06254°W

Information

Chirk Aqueduct carries the Llangollen Canal over the Ceiriog Valley, with the river below forming part of the border between Wales and England. The aqueduct was built between 1796 and 1801 by Thomas Telford during the construction of the then Ellesmere Canal. The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct three miles to the north was also later built by Telford for the same canal.

Chirk Aqueduct’s ten arches span a total length of 220m, at a height of 21m above the River Ceiriog. The waterway is contained by a cast-iron trough between the stone side walls.

Alongside the aqueduct runs a complementary masonry arched viaduct, built by Henry Robertson in 1846-1848 for the Shrewsbury and Chester Railway. At the Welsh end of the aqueduct, the canal continues northwards through the 421m-long Chirk Tunnel, built in 1794-1802.

The Aqueducts (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales);
Chirk Tunnel (Wikipedia)

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Underpass

Underpass below the A55 North Wales Expressway, leading to Penmaenmawr promenade

Underpass below the A55 North Wales Expressway, leading to Penmaenmawr promenade

Date

13 December 2014
Location

Penmaenmawr

SH 71877 76607; 53.27091°N, 3.92269°W

Information

When the Penmaenmawr bypass section of the A55 North Wales Expressway was built, the town’s 19th century Promenade was demolished to make way. Aberconwy Borough Council replaced it with a new Promenade, designed by consulting engineers Travers Morgan and built by contractor John Laing. The new Promenade was built on reclaimed land and opened in 1989. Its facilities include a café, chalets and a paddling pool. Its pedestrian subway links to the previously existing railway underpass leading to Station Road.

 

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Lon Las Ogwen, Bryn Bella I

Lon Las Ogwen, Bryn Bella

Lon Las Ogwen, Bryn Bella

Date

18 January 2014
Location

Bryn Bella, Bethesda

SH 61127 67831; 53.18937°N, 4.07995°W

Information

Work to extend the recreational route Lon Las Ogwen was started in March 2013. The new section, built on the trackbed of the former standard-gauge Bangor-to-Bethesda branch line, will connect Bethesda and Tregarth. The new underpass pictured here runs below a farm-track bridge and lies between Bryn Bella viaduct over the Afon Ogwen, which leads to the entrance of the Dinas tunnel, and the road bridge over the former railway. There are plans to open the 270m-long Dinas tunnel in order to complete the link between the two sections of Lon Las Ogwen. The last passenger service through the tunnel was in 1951 and the line closed to all traffic in 1963.

Further Reading

Gwynedd Recreational Routes (Visit Snowdonia);
Lôn Las Ogwen extended to Bethesda (Gwynedd Council);
Dinas Railway Tunnel

 

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Swainsley Tunnel

Swainsley Tunnel

Swainsley Tunnel

Date

9 February 2013
Location

Manifold Valley, White Peak, Staffordshire

SK 09088 57716; 53.11654°N, 1.86568°W

Information

The 150m-long railway tunnel at Swainsley was built on the insistence of Sir Thomas Wardle, who, although a shareholder in the Leek and Manifold Valley Light Railway, which opened in 1904, did not want sight of the line spoiling the view from his weekend residence, Swainsley Hall.

The minor road from Ecton to Wetton now passes through the tunnel, and this stretch of road is part of the Manifold Way footpath and cycle route.

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Williamson Tunnels, Liverpool

Williamson Tunnels

Date

22 August 2012
Location

Edge Hill, Liverpool

SJ 36362 90130; 53.40412°N, 2.95867°W

Information

In 1805, wealthy tobacco merchant Joseph Williamson acquired a plot of land in Liverpool’s Edge Hill district, which at that time was a largely undeveloped outcrop of hard, red sandstone. Williamson built a number of houses with large gardens there, for which he reclaimed land by building brick vaults over former quarry workings. What started as a reclamation project was to end with his death in 1840 with a vast network of cut-and-cover tunnels and caverns.

Beyond the philanthropic ends — the enterprise kept hundreds of poor workers in gainful employment — the actual purpose of the resulting extensive underground system is something of a mystery. During his lifetime, Williamson was very secretive about the tunnels, and since his death there has been much debate over the matter.

The tunnels were later used for dumping rubbish and as cesspits. Some of the properties above had rubbish chutes in their basements emptying into the tunnels. Many are still blocked by rubble tipped into the tunnels as buildings were demolished over the years. However, in 2002, after a lot of excavation and renovation work, a small section of the network was opened up to the public as the Williamson Tunnels Heritage Centre, located in the former Lord Mayor’s Stable Yard. The Centre is run by the Joseph Williamson Society, which was founded in 1989.

Williamson Tunnels Heritage Centre;
Williamson Tunnels – are they really quarries? (Edge Hill University);
Friends of Williamson’s Tunnels;
Williamson Tunnels (Wikipedia);

Other posts about Liverpool

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Dark Places

Caban, Dinorwic Quarry · Fron-boeth Quarry Tunnel, Cwm Croesor · Llanberis Bomb Store · Moel Faban Quarry · Dinas Railway Tunnel, Tregarth · Braich Tunnel, Dinorwic Quarry

‘Dark Places’ on YouTube

Blaen-y-nant Molybdenum Mine
Braichmelyn
Coed y Dinas Copper Mine
Croesor Quarry
Cwm Ceunant Copper Mine
Dinorwic Quarry
Dorothea Quarry
Fron-boeth Quarry
Glyn Rhonwy Isaf Quarry
Caseg Valley
Moel Faban Quarry

Rhosydd Quarry
Tan-y-garth Arsenic Mine
Dinas Tunnel, Tregarth
Dolbadarn Castle
Roughcastle Tunnel, Falkirk
Llanberis Bomb Store
Llanddulas Jetty
Penrhyn Quarry
ROC Llangefni
Coast Artillery School, Great Orme

Fron-boeth Quarry Tunnel

Fron-boeth Quarry Tunnel

Date

26 June 2011
Location

Cwm Croesor

SH 64361 45047; 52.98553°N, 4.02195°W

Information

The tunnel, approximately 450 m long, connected Fron-boeth slate quarry with an incline on the other side of a ridge on the western slopes of Moelwyn Mawr. The incline, 300 m north east of the tunnel exit, carried slate wagons down into Cwm Croesor and onto the Croesor Tramway.

The tunnel is blocked about 30 m in from this end, although there is evidence of work being carried out to clear the collapsed material.

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Fron-boeth Quarry

Cornish boiler next to the ruins of the mill. The inscription on the front reads 'JAs. CARMICHAEL, & Co.'

Date

7 May 2011
Location

Moelwyn Mawr

SH 64592 44648; 52.98200°N, 4.01836°W

Information

Fron-boeth is one of the Croesor group of slate quarries and is located on the lower slopes of Moelwyn Mawr on the other side of a ridge from Cwm Croesor. A processing mill was built here when quarrying moved down from the Pant Mawr quarry higher up on Moelwyn Mawr. A Cornish boiler can still be seen next to the ruins of this mill. (A Cornish boiler was a long horizonal cylinder with a single large internal flue for the furnace running along its length.)

Fron-boeth was served by a tunnel running approximately NW for about 450 m. This joined a level section of tramway on the other side of the ridge, which then met an incline down into Cwm Croesor to join the Croesor Tramway. That incline also served Pant Mawr Quarry. There are two quarried chambers in the tunnel, and it is blocked by a collapse close to the Cwm Croesor end.

Cornish Boiler (Wikipedia)

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A55 Tunnels

Pen-y-Clip Tunnel

Date

6 November 2010
Location

A55, North Wales Coast

SH 78130 78407; 53.28856°N, 3.82967°W (Conwy)
SH 74738 78352; 53.28727°N, 3.88051°W (Penmaenbach)
SH 70028 76080; 53.26573°N, 3.95019°W (Pen-y-clip)

Further Information

The Conwy Tunnel was opened in 1991 and is 1060 m long. It goes under the River Conwy estuary and was the UK’s first immersed tube tunnel.

The westbound Penmaenbach tunnel was opened in 1989 and is 658 m long. It is next to the 172 m long eastbound tunnel that was opened in 1932.

The westbound Pen-y-Clip tunnel is 930 m long and was opened in 1994.

Tunnels (A55) (North Wales Trunk Road Agency)

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