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entrance to Glenfield Railway Tunnel during restoration work

Above: Western entrance to Glenfield Railway Tunnel during restoration work

Glenfield Tunnel interior during restoration work

Above:Interior of Glenfield Railway Tunnel during restoration work
Photograph (c) Graeme Bickerdyke Photo courtesy of Four by Three

Glenfield Railway Tunnel

One of the earliest railway tunnels in the world, Glenfield Tunnel is just over one mile long. It was built under the supervision of Robert Stephenson in 1829-32 and has been disused for railway purposes since the closure of the branch line from Desford Junction to West Bridge Depot (Leicester) in the 1960s.

The Tunnel is now in the ownership of the Leicester City Council.   The Council recently commissioned a project to reinforce the structure, as was recommended after studies by consultants, to prevent any collapse and consequent damage to property built over it.  This project was carried out in 2007-8.

Steel fibre reinforced concrete strips, moulded to the shape of the brickwork, were cast inside the tunnel at all the 39 points where potential weakness had been detected by surveys.  Also, the surface stacks of each air shaft connected to the Tunnel (which are listed Grade II) were repaired and refurbished where necessary.

LIHS was privileged to be allowed access to carry out photographic recording whilst this work was carried out.  We intend to make many of these images, plus a detailed account of the reinforcement works, available as a digital publication.  The City Council and the main consultant and contractor involved have kindly given permission for this.