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#245596 - 3rd Aug 2008 1:03pm Mersey tunnel.......Anyone know?
NEWBOY Offline

Registered: 10th Apr 2008
Posts: 89
Loc: Tranmere

Speaking with my dad again, two things really:

1) Is there a signal box under the mersey rail tunnel (Now disused) that was the busiest set of points in the world at one time.

2) There is a lake underneath the mersey rail tunnel that is fresh water NOT salt.

The Grasshopper used to pump to fresh water out of the tunnels for the swimming baths such as ginnygap.

Edited by diggingdeeper (19th Jun 2009 10:41pm)
Edit Reason: Topic name changed for indexing

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#245604 - 3rd Aug 2008 3:01pm Re: Mersey tunnel.......Anyone know? [Re: NEWBOY]
Mondeo_Scott Offline

Forum Master

Registered: 14th Aug 2006
Posts: 2875
Loc: Wirral
Originally Posted By: NEWBOY
2) There is a lake underneath the mersey rail tunnel that is fresh water NOT salt..

i am to belive this is true and i am also led to belive there are tours of the mersey tunnels and u can get to see this lake thumbsup

also here is some brief History about the tunnels :-

Brief Historical Background In 1922 Sir Archibald Salvidge tabled a motion in the Liverpool City Council to enquire into and report on the feasibility of either a tunnel or bridge to improve traffic facilities across the Mersey.

The Engineers' report emphatically supported a tunnel. They pointed out that a high level bridge, whilst adding to the appearance of the port and river, in the event of war would prove a susceptible target and if subject to a direct hit could lead to the closure of the Port of Liverpool. A bridge would be impossible to safeguard. Furthermore, the cost of continuous painting and the maintenance repairs to the bridge and its furniture would be astronomical. It was reported that a double-deck road tunnel would cost less to construct and offer considerable economy in maintenance.

On 8 August 1925, Royal Assent was given to a Private Bill authorising the project, and the setting up of the Mersey Tunnel Joint Committee. On 16 December 1925 HRH the Princess Royal switched on the power to the pneumatic drills and formally inaugurated an undertaking without parallel in engineering History.

Construction The Queensway Tunnel was opened by King George V on 18 July 1934. Costing 8 million to construct over eight years and eight months, it ranked financially as the biggest single municipal enterprise ever undertaken in the country.

The pilot heading met under mid-river with a divergence of less than one inch. Hundreds of men worked in grim conditions to excavate 1,200,000 tons of rock and gravel. This was replaced with 82,000 tons of cast iron and 270,000 tons of concrete.

A million bolts tightened the iron lining and some 140 miles of joints were caulked. Some of the rubble was used in the building of nearby Otterspool promenade, which was part of a scheme to reclaim the land along parts of the foreshore of the Liverpool side of the River Mersey.

The main tunnel is 44 feet in diameter, and carries four lanes of traffic for just over two miles between Liverpool and Birkenhead.

There are two branch tunnels one of which, the Birkenhead Dock Branch (which at one time carried traffic to and from the Birkenhead Dock Estate), is now closed.

The Liverpool Dock Branch is still in operation for exit traffic only into the Liverpool Docks area.

To ventilate the traffic space above the roadway, fresh air is drawn in from outside the tunnel at six ventilation shafts - three on each side of the river - and is pumped at a uniform pressure into the tunnel through a continuous slot situated immediately under the kerb of the footways on both sides of the roadway.

Gases and vapours emitted by vehicles are blown along the length of the traffic space, drawn out through six exhaust ducts in the tunnel roof and discharged, by way of the high exhaust towers, into the outer atmosphere.

"Kingsway" Construction During the 1950's, because of the post-war boom in motoring and the expansion of local industry, the need for a second crossing became evident. Detailed studies of cross-river traffic flow provided definitive evidence of the need for an additional crossing. The arguments as to the most appropriate form of crossing, bridge or tunnel, investigated at great length in the early 1920's were repeated, and the same conclusion agreed; there was to be a second tunnel and in 1965 Royal Assent was given for the reconstitution of the Mersey Tunnel Joint Committee.

In January 1966, work commenced.

The Kingsway Tunnel, which was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in June 1971, is a twin tube tunnel, each "tube" has two traffic lanes twelve feed wide (compared to nine feet wide in the Queensway Tunnel) and is slightly under two miles in length.

#245608 - 3rd Aug 2008 3:39pm Re: Mersey tunnel.......Anyone know? [Re: Mondeo_Scott]

The Mersey Railway Tunnel did indeed have a signal box at the lowest point under the river. Known as "The River Cabin". It was within a recess in the tunnel wall. The recess is still there (so I'm told), but I doubt if anything remains of the equipment etc. Used in the days of steam (up until 1903). This box was only manned during peak hours.

Imagine spending a shift in a smoke filled tunnel with hard working steam locos thrashing by only a couple of feet away !


The only thing under the rail tunnel is the drainage heading. I had a trip down there a few years back. The drainage tunnel falls back down to pumping shafts on both sides of the river.

The strange thing is that the murky river water is 100% crystal clear (slight light blue tinge actually) after it has percolated through the sandstone into the heading.

Never heard of the fresh water lake before. More info. would be great. There is supposed to be a large lake under Litherland.

The "busiest set of points" bit, if it was on the Mersey, would have been the points at the reversing sidings at the "blind end" of L'pool Cen. rather than the mid-river box. There weren't any points there, it was only a block post. Every Mersey train had to reverse over the stub at L.C. Very busy during the peak !! Finished when they opened the Loop in the '70's.

#249726 - 21st Aug 2008 2:10am Re: Mersey tunnel.......Anyone know? [Re: ]
mindplayer Offline

Registered: 19th Aug 2008
Posts: 220
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Does anybody know about the medallions handed out to all the workers who worked on the Queensway Tunnel. Back in the '60's I was working for Bebington Council and was repairing some footpaths and found a medallion for the Mersey Tunnel dated 1934. Unfortunately some scroat broke into my house(in Australia) and stole it along with some other coins.

#249735 - 21st Aug 2008 2:25am Re: Mersey tunnel.......Anyone know? [Re: mindplayer]
_Ste_ Offline

Wiki Master

Registered: 7th Aug 2005
Posts: 15984
Loc: New Brighton
lol, man your a classic! laugh

#249748 - 21st Aug 2008 7:19am Re: Mersey tunnel.......Anyone know? [Re: _Ste_]

The medallions come up on fleabay quite often. Last one was only a week or so ago. There must be quite a few floating about. Don't know how they allocated them I'm afraid.

#424818 - 12th Aug 2010 9:31pm Re: Mersey tunnel.......Anyone know? [Re: ]
Raymondoj Offline

Registered: 22nd Jul 2010
Posts: 43
Loc: Bebington
The pumping station at Shore Road pumped water to Livingstone Street baths not the Guinea Gap baths. It was salt water that had been filtered through the bedrock.

As pinzgauer says the only thing under the tunnel is the headings. this is used to drain water away from the tunnel and is pumped out either end of the tunnel at Shore Road and Georges dock.

Edited by Raymondoj (12th Aug 2010 9:32pm)


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