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REPORT: 24th - 26th October 2009.
West Mids and Highgate High Level.

This was intended to be a local(ish) run to fill in a few gaps for both John and me. We particularly wanted to get into the twin single bores of Wolverhampton Low Level tunnel and based the itinerary around this. We had been to the southern end of this tunnels a few years ago and found an absolute swamp in the cutting – the worst I had ever experienced. I was in over my knees and was still sinking. I pushed my poking stick in to feel for solid ground and it was swallowed whole to a depth of around six feet with no resistance whatsoever – and this was still 50yds from the portals which could be seen to be worse. We retreated and headed for the station end for a quick reccie but couldn't find it. It was late and we were tired so we cleared off intending to come back soon.

It was close to five years before we got back. This time we went straight to the northern (station) end and made our way to the portal having more accurately pin-pointed the northern end on the map this time. To our relief the tunnel was dry at this end. There were old chain-link fences, seven feet tall, blocking the portals with a considerable number of tree branches piled up against them in an attempt, it appeared, to obscure the portals from view as well as to make them difficult to access.

Once inside, the Down bore was dry for about 180yds before we encountered water which gradually got deeper (the tunnel is on a down gradient heading south). There are arches inside connecting the bores so were easily able to cross to the Up bore and head back. The Up bore was muddy, half a welly depth or more all the way back from the water to the portal.

I had 'business' in London on the 26th so I abandoned John and headed off to 'the Smoke'. After my day's work I headed for Highgate High Level to 'do' the four single bores that surround the old station. The West tunnels (the longer pair) are worth a visit for those of you who enjoy photography. Go at night to avoid glare from the portals which are always in view. The sleepers and rail chairs remain for long stretches in each bore and add interest to light painting pics. There is a cross connection between these two bores not far inside the east portals so you only need to access one to get into the other.

Saturday 24th

  1. Bridgnorth - Potential route of any SVR extension into the Severn Gorge - get it while you can (probably for several decades!).
  2. Ocker Hill - It was under a road junction in Brum but it has gone now. Top of one portal remains.
  3. Wolverhampton Low Level Up and Down bores - GWR parrallel single line tunnels to the south of the long closed station.

Sunday 25th

  1. Oakamoor - I've been here before but never had the bottle to leg it across the (big) garden that separates the tunnel from the road. I did this time! John did this a couple of years ago but came for the ride!
  2. "Oldridge" - Tramway tunnel on the same line as Cauldon Lowe.
  3. "Bridge 31" - This is a long bridge with earth on top - does that make it a tunnel?!
  4. Bradnop - John needed this one, I did it in 2004. Take yer wellies.
  5. Stockton Brook
  6. - Again, I did this in 2004 but John needed it.
  7. Glenfield - John did Glenfield about ten years ago. I always nip in to look when I go by on the off chance it is accessible. Well this time the doors had been forced (thank you... whoever you are...). We were already late for dinner at John's missus place so we had to pile through very quickly. I couldn’t let it go without a couple of basic light painting pics though.

Monday 26th

  1. Highgate East and West - Four single bores surrounding the station which finally closed in 1962 after having ceased to cater for passengers eight years before.


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