Mystery Photographs

The Courtney Haydon Collection and Ron Dyer Archive

Round Oak Rail, Brierley Hill


Bridge and tunnel near m.p. 216 and a quarter
Photograph: Courtney Haydon Collection (B-93-01)
12/11/2010 from Mark Higginson
Eastern approach to COCKETT TUNNEL (788 yards) near Cwmdu. I am not sure about the history of this tunnel but it may originally have been longer - the nearest bit is not a bridge (although a small stream passes over it) but looks to be a portion of the tunnel, while the gap with its "flying arches" has varied in length over the years; it was shorter in 1879 than it appears in 1899 and again in 1916, by which latter date the "flying arches" have appeared. There is a report of a partial collapse in 1899, but I don't know if that is connected. The uneven ground visible over the portal is the result of tipping from the long-closed Weig-fawr Colliery, but again I don't know if the mine was responsible for the collapse.
12/11/2010 from Mal Hammond
Cockett Tunnel west of Abertawe looking west. Many trees grown now but still the only unbuilt up area hereabouts. Note discarded cycle wheel on bottom left of photo.
21/06/2011 from JG Morgan
location: Cockett Tunnel east end
RA Cooke refers to the collapse in 1899 (12 chains from the east end), but doesn't state whether the tunnel was shorter after that or not.
31/05/2012 from Nigel Wassell (16210)
This is the original eastern portal of the tunnel, which was originally 829 yards long. The collapse in June 1899 was caused, according to the BoT Inspector, by subsidence caused by water being pumped out of the long-flooded workings of the Weig-fawr pit, which passed under the railway. (The owners of the colliery attempted to sue the GWR for the value of the coal they were forced to leave under the track-bed!) Repair was effected by installing steel ribs inside the tunnel arch at 5 feet intervals and infilling with concrete and the tunnel was reopened to traffic by Christmas 1899, but this restricted the loading gauge to such a degree that by 1903 the portion of the tunnel where reinforcing had been carried out was opened out, the reinforcing removed and a new eastern portal, at 788 yards from the western one, constructed. There's a good photograph of the exposed reinforcing structure on page 171 of "Track Topics" - one the the GWR's books "for boys of all ages" by W.G. Chapman, reprinted a few years ago by David & Charles.
15/02/2013 from Nigel Wassell
May I correct myself? More recent research suggests that the original eastern portal of the tunnel was a little closer to the camera than I stated - it was immediately behind the two equipment cabinets in the middle foreground, where the cutting widens out. And the shortening of the tunnel and removal of the 1899 reinforcement was carried out at a later date than 1903 (the 1905 Sectional Appendix refers to the restricted width inside the tunnel at its eastern end), but we don't know precisely when.
Comments have now closed

Comments will be welcomed by The Webmaster

Technical problems should be sent to The Webmaster.