Three railway tunnels, and a canal tunnel were constructed in this great engineering feat. There are over 12 miles of tunnels, all joined together by a labyrinth of small interconnecting passages and adits.
*The Standedge railway tunnel is the third longest in the U.K*
It held that record for 30 years.
*The Standedge 1894 rail tunnel is 3 miles and 57 yards long (5337 yards)*
*The canal tunnel is the longest, deepest and highest canal tunnel in Britain*
It is 3.1 miles long, 640 ft underground, and 640 ft above sea level.
It took me three trips to photograph the tunnels, air shafts and surrounding landscape.
Abandon all hope ye who enter here!
Lets take a look in the canal tunnel first!
Construction of this Canal began in 1794. The direct route chosen involved a daring plan for a tunnel more than 3 miles long under the Pennine hills at Standedge. The canal was originally to take five years to build. But it didn't open until 1817 and took 17 years to build.
It's great to crank up the urbexmobile and travel at 500 m.p.h through the tunnel.
The railway line passes over the canal tunnel in places only a few feet above. It's very noisy down here when a train goes over.
There are several connecting passages from the canal to the railway tunnel.
Four of these are official emergency exists incase of emergency. These are fitted with motion sensors, lights and a tannoy system. Stairs lead up to the higher railway tunnel in these passages.
This is the portal for the 1871 South tunnel at Marsden.
3 miles of very long tunnel lie ahead.
A last look at the outside world. We would be down here for a whole 7 hours exploring all the side passages and adits.
In total we spent 10 hours in these tunnels.
Standedge tunnels are truly awesome in size. We would need some serious lighting kit to photograph down here.
We had enough fire power to knock out Darth Vaders Death star!
This is a connecting passage between the central, and live railway tunnel. You could see the canal tunnel below by peering through the small gap at the side of the stairs. These passage were originally construction adits, they were dug down to the canal during the excavation of the rail tunnels. Construction spoil was then transported away by boat.
This wider adit is now an emergency escape route from the canal to the railway tunnels. The canal is reached by the narrow short passage at the side of the stairs. Warning signs of this impending watery drop are fitted overhead.
I loved how quiet it was down here, it really was an eerie atmosphere. The drips of water into the canal made some very strange glooping noises. Your mind can start to play tricks after a while in a tunnel. You can often spot something a 'little strange' for a split second in the beam of a torch, when you look again it has always gone. There's nothing like strange echoes, moving shadows, and unexplained flickering lights to keep you on your toes!
The Vortex air pressure effect captured on camera!
This 30 second long exposure shot captured things our eyes couldn't. We could only feel the great rush of wind when a train hurtled past. Here we can see the air has actually been sucked out of this side refuge. The atmosphere has been shattered with the light rays pulled apart.
You could feel this vortex effect a good minute before the train hurtled past.
This really wasn't a good place for photography!
Not only were we 400 feet underground, but a strong backdraft blew down this shaft. Water poured in continually. There was a thick water spray in the air. I'm suprised i managed this long exposure without getting the lens covered with water. My previous 20 attempts weren't so lucky though.
You never knew what you might find lurking in these small passages!
Standedge Stan looks happy enough anyway. I'm not sure how long he's been down here for!
If there was such a place as hell on earth you would probably find it down here!
I christened this drainage system at the bottom of a shaft 'The Devils chair' Well it looked like it to me anyway!
The central tunnel had these supporting girders fitted near to the Marsden end. Extensive work had been undertaken in the South tunnel to strengthen buckling walls also.
Back at the other end at last!
The two disused Standedge tunnel portals at the Diggle end.
The tunnel on the left is known as 'The centre' tunnel, it was the first tunnel constructed in 1848.
The tunnel next to it is known as 'The South tunnel' it was constructed in 1871.
The live railway tunnel was the last to be built in 1894.
The live tunnel is out of shot to the left.
*That's just a little teaser for the whole explore*
You can read the full explore in far better detail here
I hope you enjoyed it guys!