The Anonymous Widower

The Summit Tunnel On The Calder Valley Line

Until I started writing my post called Manchester Victoria To Hebden Bridge, I’d never heard of the Summit Tunnel on the Calder Valley Line.

Reading Wikipedia, the tunnel sounds like a masterpiece of Victorian engineering.

  • It is 2.6 km. long and was built by hand through shale, coal and sandstone, in the 1830s.
  • It was once the longest rail tunnel in the world.
  • The tunnel takes two tracks in a single horseshoe-shaped bore, which is lined with twenty-three million bricks.
  • It has caused odd bits of trouble in the last thirty years, so I suspect it is well known to and respected by tunnel engineers.
  • It has been in continuous use since it opened.

I suspect many engineers will let this sleeping giant lie, after taking every check that he or she is fast asleep.

I also suspect that the heritage lobby, could get very protective about this tunnel.

If they electrify the Calder Valley Line, they would probably treat this tunnel in one of two ways.

  • Leave well enough alone and use electric trains with an IPEMU capability.
  • Call in the Swiss, who seem to be the experts in electrifying tunnels.

I would think, that the first option will be chosen, as it will be more affordable and probably have no more risk, than today’s use of diesels through the tunnel.

The IPEMU could have been designed for this tunnel, as it is the only electric train, that could pass through, without any modifications to the tunnel.

January 4, 2016 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | ,


  1. […] tunnels include the Summit Tunnel, which is a masterpiece of Victorian engineering, that has been in continuous use since the […]

    Pingback by Manchester Victoria To Hebden Bridge « The Anonymous Widower | January 4, 2016 | Reply

  2. […] are several tunnels, includin the Summit Tunnel, which is 2.6 km. long and has been in continuous use since the […]

    Pingback by An Early Sunday Start From Burnley To Manchester « The Anonymous Widower | January 4, 2016 | Reply

  3. […] two major viaducts. The tunnels include at least three over a thousand metres, one of which; the Summit Tunnel is over 2.6 miles […]

    Pingback by The Future Of The Calder Valley Line « The Anonymous Widower | January 5, 2016 | Reply

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