A cor­ner of york­shire BLEA MOOR TUN­NEL

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Front Page -

The great­est ob­sta­cle stand­ing in the way of the Mid­land Rail­way’s pro­posed Set­tle-Carlisle Line was the enor­mous hulk of Wh­ern­side, York­shire’s high­est sum­mit. The so­lu­tion was to curve the line on a north-north-east course from nearby Rib­ble­head Viaduct and ex­ca­vate the 1½-mile-long Blea Moor Tun­nel.

It was dug by hun­dreds of navvies liv­ing in the same shanty towns as those work­ing on the viaduct and which formed the back­drop to the ITV drama Jeri­cho. On the moor above, steam en­gines were used to haul the spoil up ver­ti­cal shafts. Some spoil heaps are still ev­i­dent to­day, as is the course of a tramway con­structed to move bricks for the tun­nel lin­ing. Work took from 1870 to 1874 to com­plete, but nu­mer­ous work­ers died in rock­falls and in 1870 oth­ers drowned after rain flooded the cut­tings. Sev­eral com­puter train sim­u­la­tors are now avail­able to al­low en­thu­si­asts to pass through Blea Moor Tun­nel.

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