East End – Tuel Lane Tunnel - Rochdale Canal – Sowerby Bridge, Yorkshire - UK
Posted by: dtrebilc
N 53° 42.571 W 001° 54.422
30U E 572140 N 5951757
Quick Description: This 104 metre canal tunnel was created when the abandoned Rochdale Canal was reopened for leisure boating.
Location: Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 7/8/2012 10:56:17 AM
Waymark Code: WMEV3P
Long Description:The Canal History
The Rochdale Canal was completed in 1804 and is one of three canals that cross the Pennine hills. This is the only one that doesn’t use tunnels. In addition it was a broad canal with bridges and locks that allowed boats of 14 feet width to pass through.
The one downside of not using tunnels is that it originally had 92 locks. These days two of them have been combined into one deep lock in front of this tunnel.
Competition from railways and roads subsequently led to a decline in goods being carried and by 1937 the only section left in operation was at the Manchester end of the canal.
In 1965 there was talk of abandoning the canal but by this time leisure boating had become very popular in the UK and there was a campaign to keep it open. Work was started and the canal slowly re-opened in a number of different stages.
The building of the tunnel
After the canal had closed the old locks 3 and 4 were filled in and used as the route of the A619 as part of a road diversion scheme.
The blockage only cut off a short section of the Rochdale Canal itself, but it also prevented access to the Calder and Hebble canal which has a junction at this end of the Rochdale Canal.
The solution to the problem was to build this new 104 metre tunnel and at the western end of the tunnel build a new 6 metre deep lock to replace the old shallower locks 3 and 4.
There is a bend in the tunnel, and because the new lock is next to the entrance, boats have to get permission from a lock keeper before entering the tunnel. This is not only to prevent boats meeting in the middle of the tunnel but also because water emptying from such a large lock causes turbulence in the tunnel.
Unlike some tunnels there is no system of lights to indicate when it’s safe to enter the tunnel. Instead the lock keeper uses three blasts on a whistle to let you know when to proceed.
There is no tow path through the tunnel, the only way through is by boat.
The start of the eastern end of the tunnel makes use of the original route of the canal as it passed under the A58 through a bridge. There were then 2 locks where the A619 now is taking the canal up hill and past the Christ Church. The tunnel passes under the level of the old locks before entering the new single deep lock 3/4.
The tunnel was opened on 3rd May 1996 in partnership with the Rochdale Canal Society (RCS) and the National Citizen Service (NCS). It was partly funded by a 2.5 million pound Derelict Land Grant.
The co-ordinates for the tunnel are taken at the eastern end furthest from the lock and is easily accessed on foot, either from the canal tow path or from Wharf Street (A58).