09/09/17 – Session #12

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Haddon Tunnel – Derbyshire


Haddon Tunnel is a tunnel in Derbyshire, England, built by the Midland Railway extending the Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midlands Junction Railway from Rowsley to Buxton, opened in 1863.

Although the line closed in 1967, it has historic interest, for it was on the Midland Railway (and LMS) main line from London to Manchester, and there are ambitious plans by Peak Rail to reopen it as part of its extension to Bakewell.


It was constructed solely to hide the railway from the view of the Duke of Rutland where the line passed Haddon Hall. It is 1,058 yards (967 m) long and, being close to the surface, was mostly built by the ‘cut and cover’ method. There were five ventilation shafts, one being the full width of the double-track tunnel, the deepest being only 12 feet (3.7 m).

Shortly after the headings met, part of it collapsed, killing four workers outright, and wounding another so seriously that he died the following day. The railway paid £100 (equivalent to £8,781 in 2016) compensation to each of their families.

Following closure, the trackbed and tunnel was reincorporated into the Haddon Estate. The long campaign by Peak Rail and others culminated in a feasibility study by Derbyshire County Council in 2004, the Haddon Estate being a major opponent of the plan.

Not only is this tunnel rather long, it has an awesome open square area half way through which puts you outside with nature whilst going through a tunnel. There are also chimneys which are present throughout the tunnel which let some natural light into what would otherwise be pitch black. This really does bring the tunnel to life, along with seeing nature take its course and begin to claim back what it can.


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