Standedge Tunnel is a unique structure dating back over 200 years, starting life as a canal tunnel before the arrival of the railways led to its expansion into a multi-bore tunnel which is still operational today.
The operational 1894 tunnel is ventilated by 3 shafts:
- No. 2 Shaft, Brunn Clough, 443 ft. deep, now capped at the surface
- No. 3 Shaft, Redbrook, 495 ft. deep, now capped at the surface
- No. 7 Shaft, Flint, 515 ft. deep, uncapped
The brickwork in these shafts is under continual attack from incessant water ingress and required intervention to repair the fabric of the brickwork and provide improved water management arrangements to negate future damage.
AMCO, a recognised specialist in tunnel maintenance and repairs were engaged by Network Rail to undertake the required works. Prior to any works, 70% of the water needed to be captured before any mineral deposits could be cleared or structural works undertaken.
Access was key but extremely difficult, the rail tunnel was used 24/7 by Manchester Airport and two of the shaft caps presented severe restrictions due to being in a SSSI site. The solution was to drive new adits from the canal tunnel through to the shafts.
Works commenced using specialist Apollo Cradles (see photo, right), these platforms powered by four electric motors enabled the platform to climb and allowed the team to commence structural repair works.
Modern foul weather gear was essential as the wet conditions were reminiscent of those encountered by their victorian forefathers. The scheme has recently been awarded the Linda Grant Safety Award.
AMCO Rail, Regional Director, Kevin Simons, said:
“I am extremely proud of the whole team who were involved with this project. They all endured atrocious conditions within the shafts but rose to the everyday challenges in order to complete these necessary repair works. A commendable effort by all involved.”