Berwyn Tunnel

Berwyn Tunnel is the longest single bore tunnel on any preserved line in the UK. It is 689 yards long and has no smoke ventilation shafts. It is brick lined throughout due the the nature of the rock and the legacy of lead and other ore mining pits in the hillside above. The tunnel leaks water through the brickwork in wet seasons due to these mining pits.

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Berwyn Tunnel West Portal taken from the Wickham DMU set in September 2008

Photo John Rutter

Left: Berwyn Tunnel East Portal before the brushwood was cut back on 10th Jan 2009

Right: The view of the Dee Valley from the top of the tunnel portal on the same day

Picture - John Rutter

Berwyn Tunnel West Portal 10th Jan 2009 ( view from the old Home of the Trackgnome) before the Bogyman wrecked it!

Picture - John Rutter

Berwyn Tunnel West Portal - looking away from the tunnel 10th Jan 2009

Picture - John Rutter

The approach up Berwyn Bank to the East portal of Berwyn Tunnel.

Photo - John Rutter

Brushwood Cutting at Berwyn Tunnel East Portal on 9th January

Left to Right: What it looked like before we started. Cutting the ivy down. The Train to get us and the tools there. Clearing a larger piece of brushwood. Finished, the gang line up for the record. A quick look at the West portal before home.

Brushwood clearing is an essential and regular activity on any railway. It’s amazing how quickly nature tries to take things back. The original cutting was done here in 1987 and what is cleared is the copice wood which has grown from the stumps.

The stumps are left in to grow again to maintain bank stability.

The gang were (pic 5) : Colin Cooper, Gary Roberts, Charles Wilson, Dan Thomas, Ian Ross and Mike Watts with Roger Hodgkinson and yours truly off the picture.

Pictures - John Rutter

More Brushwood Cutting  at Berwyn Tunnel West Portal

Three unusual views of Berwyn Tunnel West Portal during brushwood clearing on 7th February

All Photos - Peter Robson

Icicles on the rock outcrops, Berwyn Tunnel East Portal 10th Jan 2009

Picture - John Rutter


Above Left: A very unusual sight - the headlight on a DMU illuminates giant icicles growing in Berwyn tunnel, rather like stalactites in ancient caves. The tunnel has a prevailing wind blowing through it; there are also a number of points where water drips through the roof, particularly after very wet weather. In the right conditions, the water coming through the ceiling is chilled by the wind and frozen before it can fall to the ground. Specimens reaching right down to the ground have been seen when no trains have run for a few days.

Also visible if you look closely, is one of the refuges, almost at the right-hand edge of the picture. These are recesses in the tunnel wall, built to enable people working in the tunnel to wait safely whilst a train passes. At the very far right-hand side of this picture can be seen one of the mileposts (in this case, a plate screwed to the wall) which are placed every quarter of a mile along the track. This one is '8': eight miles the junction of our line with the main line near Ruabon. Most of the others are fixed to posts, visible from the train. (John Joyce)

Above Left - Tracklaying into the Tunnel from the west Nov 1989

Above Right: Track in the tunnel Dec 1989

Left: The first “train” through the tunnel - the Neptune at the west portal Dec 1989

Below Right: The first steam loco into the tunnel since 1964. Odney Manor gently eases into the East Portal Dec 1989