Pwll Du Tunnel, Hill's Tramroad, Blaenavon, Wales
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Team Sieni
N 51° 47.924 W 003° 05.749
30U E 493392 N 5738657
Quick Description: A railway tunnel constructed before the days of steam, when wagons were drawn along rails by horse power. The Pwll Du tunnel was the longest tunnel on any British horse drawn railway.
Location: United Kingdom
Date Posted: 9/27/2009 12:16:12 PM
Waymark Code: WM7AHH
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member kbarhow
Views: 8

Long Description:

Hill's Tramroad was a 2ft guage horse drawn tramroad connecting the Tyla quarry on Gilwern Hill with the Blaenavon Ironworks, and also providing a route past the Garnddyrys forge in Cwm Llanwenarth to the Brecon and Abergavenny Canal at Llanfoist.

On a tramroad, unlike a modern railroad, the rails were flanged and the wheels were smooth. See reference [2] for some great pictures

Reference [1] gives the opening date of the tunnel as being about 1815, and says that a pre-existing mine working from the Blaenavon (S) end formed the basis, reference [5] says 1818-21. The original date of the mine workings is given as 1782 [3]. The closing date is just as hard to determine. Hill's Tramroad stopped running through to Llanfoist in 1860 [1], but the tunnel continued in use until 1926, with limestone being hauled through the tunnel by stationary engines positioned at either end [3,5].

Reference [4] gives the length as 2400m (7874ft) and states it was he longest tunnel on any British horse drawn railroad. However, reference [3] gives a length of only 2000m. Reference [5] says just over 2km and notes that there is a height rise of some 21 metres (70 feet) from Blaenavon (the opposite end to the co-ordinates given here) to Pwll Du.

Reference [2] has some superb pictures by the artist Michael Blackmore reconstructing the tunnel in its original form, for instance, the images below. Reference [5] contains a wealth of information about the tunnel (and more pictures by Michael Blackmore)

The tramroad continues around the head of Cwm Llanwenarth, around the Blorenge, and down a steep incline to the Brecon and Abergavenny canal at Llanfoist.


    1. Tramroads of the Brecknock & Abergavenny Canal by Gordon Rattenbury. 1980. (Oakham: Railway and Canal Historical Society) ISBN: 9780901461247
    2. COST A27 Cultural parks and cultural landscapes: Blaenavon
    3. Welsh Mines Society Newsletter 41, November 1999
    4. Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Blaenavon Ironworks and Upper Brick Yard
    5. Ghosts of Pwll Du The Secret Bottletop Production Company
    6. World Heritage Site BlaenavonThomas Hill's Tram Road
    7. WM8QTW Bolorenge Tunnel
Construction: Rock & Mortar

Condition: Blocked Off

Rail Status: No

Current status: Closed / Blocked

Original Use: Freight

Tunnel Length: 7,874.00

Terrain:

Website: [Web Link]

Date Built: 1816

Date Abandoned: 1926

The "Other End": Not Listed

Suggested Parking Area: Not Listed

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