Site Records


SiteName: Liverpool - Edge Hill Cutting & Tunnels

Chatsworth Street
Liverpool 7
OS Grid. Ref: SJ367898

Sub Brit site visit September 1998

[Source: Nick Catford]

West of the boiler chambers the steam tunnel terminates above another chamber which also has an opening through the brickwork roof into the floor of the steam tunnel. This is the largest room on the north side of the cutting and it doesn't appear to be original. Its close association with the steam tunnel of 1836 suggests that it is of that date, being cut to provide the additional steam capacity to operate the Edge Hill engines. Another feature in the steam tunnel itself appears to be a coal chute directing supplies of fuel in from the cutting top, though the tunnel, and into this chamber. Access to the cutting top via this coal chute is now completely blocked.


The cutting under construction
published by Robert Ackermann

The room is brick lined, 6.50 metres wide, 7 metres deep and 5.40 metres high. The back wall connects with the smoke flue from an opening on its east side and with the chimney base by another flue on its west side. A smaller room to the west may be original, or, as its location and size suggests, may be the mess room for the boiler men working in the adjacent chamber.

The final pair of openings to the west appears to be an enlargement of a smaller chamber that was referred to as a stable for the Crown Street pilot horse.

It was later opened up to provide staff accommodation when the present rooms which include windows and a doorway were excavated.

THE FUTURE
The site was surveyed in March 1976 and a limited programme of excavation including the site of the north engine house, the drainage ducts, and the rope-haulage system was carried out by NW Society for Industrial Archaeology and History. In 1980 British Rail handed over the management of the site to the Edge Hill Railway Trust. To coincide with this, an illustrated pamphlet, describing the history of the site, "Railways Began Here" was published. The trust negotiated a derelict land grant with the City Council and it was proposed to incorporate the site into a rail trail with displays and interpretation boards. The trust also leased part of the building at Edge Hill Station as a visitor centre for the trail.

Since that date however, Mersey Rail have found a new use for the existing track as a siding and as a result refused further public access to the cutting. The Edge Hill Railway Trust folded and has now disappeared without trace. The cutting is once again overgrown and derelict and all requests for access to this important heritage site are now refused. When visited in 1996, track was still laid through the later Crown Street tunnel to the site of the L & NW good station and the line is currently used by Mersey Rail as a siding for stabling passenger coaches overnight.

Photo:Inside Wapping Tunnel
Photo by Nick Catford

The station at the end of the Wapping Tunnel was removed and slum housing cleared during the 1950's and 60's, but plans to carry out large scale redevelopment and construct an urban motorway were never carried out. The zone has since been a centre for light industrial uses and distribution. In 1999 there was a proposal to create a new single carriageway road from the M62 to the port and city centre which includes converting the Waterloo Tunnel into a roadway. Potentially this would allow dock traffic to be directed away from surface routes used at present, accommodate the anticipated growth in dock traffic and facilitate the development of further freight distribution along the dock corridor. A study concluded that the project was technically feasible.

For more pictures of Wapping & Crown Street tunnels see Old Liverpool Railways web site
See also Crown Street Coal Yard web site for additional pictures of the Crown Street coal yard and Edge Hill cutting.

Sources:

See also Wapping Tunnel

Further information and pictures about this site continues here

[Source: Nick Catford]

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