We have always known the fact that whilst Williamson was digging his Triple Decker Tunnel under the streets below Edge Hill, Stephenson and his men were also digging a second Tunnel in the other direction. This tunnel was to be the brand new railway down into Liverpool Lime Street. Neither Williamson’s nor Stephenson’s men knew of each other’s subterranean activities, until their two tunnels met, dissecting each other. You can read more here: https://williamsontunnels.com/history-2/anecdotes/
Forward to modern day and that tunnel built by Stephenson is now a four track cutting, being widened in 1881 to the cutting we have today. At the point where the two tunnels cross, if you look very carefully you will see where the Triple Decker Tunnel has been bricked up with very large sandstone blocks. Of course if you are on a train, and you blink, you will miss this feature. Many will have never have noticed, while some may have seen this large area of sandstone blocks sealing what?
We were delighted when Chris Iles secured the permission from Network Rail to take an escorted walk of the length of the Railway Cutting from Lime Street, in order to photograph the Cutting itself, its short Tunnels and bridges and of course the important Williamson’s blocked off Triple Decker Tunnel.
As well as the Triple Decker, there is also the Ramsbottom’s Chimney vent shaft which is of great interest. You can read a little more here https://williamsontunnels.com/the-tunnels/the-house/ The purpose of this Tunnel in the Cutting wall was to vent the original Railway Tunnel. Inside here was a steam driven fan, leading up to a very large Chimney (Ramsbottom’s Chimney) The Chimney only being demolished in the 1970’s so some of you may well remember it on the skyline. It is said that when they demolished the chimney, they simply collapsed it into its self on top of the steam fan.
We wish to Thank Network Rail for their help and cooperation in allowing this visit.
To view the complete collection of the Liverpool Lime Street to Edge Hill Cutting photographs that were taken on the day, click on the photograph below. You will find a Album of the photographs on Flickr. Enjoy