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Thursday, 18 March 2010

There's something in the pit ...

The contractors - Hope and Clay - have now dug an initial pit - with the intention of proving the location of the tunnel portal and also its condition - it was quite possible that the structure had been seriously damaged in the process of burying it.

However, a length of the capping stones to the portal itself are now in the light for the first time since the nineteen seventies, and it appears that the team that worked to fill the cutting all those years ago took good care not to damage it. This is thoroughly good news for the Two Tunnels project.

There could not be a greater contrast between this tunnel portal and that of Brunel's Box tunnel built some miles to the east and some forty years earlier but each tells its own tale and it will be good to have this one back. Please revisit the blog as we hope to have more photos online shortly.

If you intend to visit the works, please note that for the time being the tunnel portal will remain some way inside the safety fencing surrounding the works area. If you're on foot, the public road above the tunnel portal itself gives a good overview of the entire length between the tunnel portal and Maple Grove bridge.

On the subject of the contractors, we've the early impression that we're fortunate to have an experienced and well trained team working to shape the new entrance to Devonshire Tunnel on this as yet little recognised but landmark project for the city. Should you encounter or visit the works you can play a part in letting them know they're welcome - and making a not-straightforward job of excavating the tunnel portal without damage to it as easy as possible.

12 comments:

stanleymayer@hotmail.co.luk said...

Frank. That looks good ,looking forward to seeing a bit saturday
all the best to you and your team.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the photos - very appreciated when I am too far away to pop down

Stuart said...

Looking very exciting! I will be popping down to see the work! Great work to all the team!!!!

Anonymous said...

nice to see but rail use is the future make no mistake.

raven said...

A railway that stops at the bottom of Bellots Road?
I think not!

Anonymous said...

i think we can safely say that this tunnel will never see trains again - if only for its extremely limited size requiring it to be re-bored.

Mark A said...

This is a length of railway that:

a)Should not have been built.

b)Once built, should not have closed, the queues of traffic on the A367 are witness to that.

We're grateful for the support shown to us by the industry, by various railway groups and individuals in bringing about this exciting shared-use path.

It's entirely right that the route should crackle with echoes from its previous use. While we think it's most unlikely that this particular stretch will be needed for a railway again, one of the reasons we're doing this is to raise the profile of this remarkable four miles as a whole - and see it contributing to the culture and the economy once more, albeit in a way that its builders would not have envisaged.

This gives its structures a far more secure existance. It is essential that the viaduct in particular is given a purpose and bought into care and maintenance, as it is otherwise vulnerable.

And, turning to the poets, we have John Betjeman's words:

'Where there have been trains, there will be trains'.

That's a poet's stance, like something from a book by the author Alan Garner, it weaves a hardly visible but unsettling thread through many industrial and housing estates and shopping centres across the UK - but its likely that were the S&D line to reopen, it would surely reappear north of Midford on one of the more practical alternative routes.

Anonymous said...

just for ref type in new somerset and dorset railway have a read.

Anonymous said...

I hope we have a bit more to see come this week end.
I hope the weather is a bit better
all the best to all .


stanleymayer@hotmail.co.uk

John Yeo said...

It's an inspiring sight . . .

Stanley Mayer said...

Goods morning mark any think new yet.

Anonymous said...

After so many years of seeing pointless / ill-advised / brutalist developments in the city, we should use every opportunity to celebrate a wonderful project that combines heritage, environmentalism and support for the enjoyment of leisure and nature. An amazing prospect. I am lucky enough to live within a couple of hundred yards of the line and cannot wait! Have been to the site a couple of times to see progress (but it's got very muddy!). I also hope the familiar hoot of the Linear Park owl remains after the path is finished.