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Winchburgh Tunnel

A railway tunnel which cuts beneath Main Street in the village of Winchburgh in West Lothian, the Winchburgh Tunnel opened with the Edinburgh-Glasgow railway in 1842 and extends to 335m (1100 feet) in length. The tunnel was designed by railway engineer John Miller (1805-83) and built by civil engineer John Gibb (1776 - 1850). It took 24 months to complete and cuts through a ridge of oil-shale and dolerite; the friable nature of the shale required it to be lined in-part with brick. The construction took much longer than expected and Gibb lost money on the contract. He was paid extra for additional ventilation work after firedamp (methane) was found to have leaked into the workings and a man was severely burned when it ignited.

Design decisions resulted in the tunnel being prone to flooding and it was closed in Summer 2015 to allow the track to be lowered as part of the work necessary to electrify the line.

Winchburgh station lay at the north end of the tunnel until it closed in 1930.


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