Argos Hill in East Sussex isn’t really a tunnel at all, it’s a skew bridge (a bridge that passes obliquely under or over a road) which was cut and covered rather than bored. It is however, underground, so it still gets in here.
The tunnel is just 60 yards long to pass beneath the old Eastbourne Road, the A267, and is a (generous) double bore.
Constructed by the London Brighton & South Coast Railway (LBSCR), Argos Hill opened to traffic in September 1880 and closed, along with the rest of the Cuckoo Line (Eridge to Polegate) in 1965.
The method of construction is quite plain from the profile of the tunnel which has vertical side-walls with reinforcement arches (that look like rather too numerous trackmen’s refuges) and a sharp transition to the roof arch.
The side-walls are very similar to contemporary retaining structures on other, surface sections of the LBSCR network, notably the St Margaret’s curve in East Grinstead.
Access to both portals is straightforward. The tunnel lies underneath the A267 just before the left-hand curve as you head south down Argos Hill. It can be reached on both sides of the road, although the approach from the eastern end is simplest. Just drop into the cutting down the steps from the footpath by the road and double back on yourself. You should then be looking at the portal shown in the photo below.
- A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain, HP White edited by David St John Thomas and J Allan Patmore
- Nigel Callaghan’s Database of Railway Tunnels