TOP TEN SEV­ERN TUN­NEL FACTS

Model Rail (UK) - - The Big Picture -

At 144ft be­low sea level, the Sev­ern Tun­nel is the low­est point on Bri­tain’s rail­way net­work.

It was the world’s long­est un­der­wa­ter rail­way tun­nel, at 4 miles 624 yards, un­til Ja­pan’s Seikan Tun­nel opened in 1988.

It was the long­est tun­nel on Bri­tain’s rail­way net­work un­til the Chan­nel Tun­nel Rail Link from Ebb­s­fleet to Lon­don St Pan­cras opened.

The Sev­ern Tun­nel took 13 years to build and opened in 1886.

The ‘Great Spring’, a source of fresh wa­ter on the Mon­mouthshire side, flooded the work­ings twice dur­ing con­struc­tion, first in 1879 and again in 1883.

The Great Spring was sealed in 1880 be­hind wa­ter­tight doors; these were ac­cessed by diver Alexan­der Lam­bert us­ing Henry Fleuss’ new self-con­tained breath­ing ap­pa­ra­tus.

Some 50 mil­lion tons of fresh wa­ter from the ‘Great Spring’ are pumped into the River Sev­ern ev­ery day.

The pumps were steam pow­ered un­til the 1960s; to­day, they’re elec­tric.

Chief En­gi­neer Sir John Hawk­shaw ad­vo­cated the abo­li­tion of the GWR’S broad gauge.

The GWR launched a mo­tor-rail ser­vice be­tween Pil­ning (Glouces­ter­shire) and Sev­ern Tun­nel Junc­tion (Mon­mouthshire) in 1924; it ended when the Sev­ern Bridge opened in 1966.

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