Lydgate Tunnel ‘not collapsing’

Reporter: by GEOFF WOOD
Date published: 09 July 2008

LYDGATE Tunnel is not in danger of collapsing, the British Railways Board has assured worried residents.

Concerns were raised when routine engineering inspections revealed that repair work was needed on the structure, which took the Delph Donkey Line from Grotton to Grasscroft beneath Lydgate.

Near-by residents feared that their homes might subside.

But the board, which is responsible for maintaining the tunnel, has denied there is any danger.

Grotton resident Richard Darlington said: “I gather the tunnel was in danger of collapsing in parts. Houses on the hill at Lydgate might have been affected.

“There has been quite a bit of activity as engineers make repairs. I think the damaged tunnel could have affected quite a few houses.”

Parish Councillor Andrew Hodgkiss said: “I am not aware of anyone having any problems in the area, but safety work is going on.”

Councillor Brian Lord, a borough councillor and leader of the ruling Lib-Dem group, said: “There is a new estate which has been built not far from the mouth of the tunnel at the Lydgate end.

I am not sure what effect the tunnel might have had on them.”

But a spokeswoman for the British Railways Board said: “The engineering works at Lydgate Tunnel are part of a planned maintenance programme.

“There are some areas of loose and hollow brickwork in the tunnel lining and repairs and pointing are being undertaken to ensure the safety of the structure, but the tunnel was not in a condition where there was a risk of collapse.

“The work started on February 25 and is due to be completed by the end of this month.

“BRBR retains responsibility for around 400 structures associated with closed railway lines.

“Every structure is examined annually and work is undertaken as required to keep them in a safe condition.”