The railway tunnel under the River Severn that links Wales with England was built in a courageous way from the mid 1870s and finally opened in 1886. The very nature of its construction under the turbulent waters of the Bristol Channel provided the builders with great challenges as they engineered their way two and a half miles and hundreds of feet under the torrent above.
This programme looks briefly at the construction of the tunnel and the efforts to keep local underground fresh water springs from flooding the railway. Indeed the spring water still to this day flows millions of gallons which has to be pumped out by the Sudbrook pumping station on the Monmouthshire side.
The main archive film produced by members of the BAC Railway Society Film Unit shows an every-day operation to assist heavy trains from Severn Tunnel Junction through the tunnel over to the Gloucestershire side. This banking service was crucial to keep traffic flowing along this important stretch of the London to South Wales main line.
We also catch up with two railwaymen who worked on the footplate from Severn Tunnel Jct shed and experienced the techniques required for a safe banking operation.
We follow the life and times of one of the Western Region Prairie tanks, No. 4160, which was so much a part of the depot at Severn Tunnel Junction working the banking duties. Fortunately, we have No. 4160 with us today thanks to the scrapyard at Barry. Sequences of the engine at work on the West Somerset Railway include its final day before overhaul driven by Eric Broom, one of its original firemen at Severn Tunnel Jct.
DVD 50 minutes duration
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Item location: Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, United Kingdom
The Vale of Rheidol Railway (Welsh: Rheilffordd Cwm Rheidol) is a 1ft 11 3/4 inches (603 mm) narrow gauge heritage railway that runs for 113?4 miles (18.9 km) between Aberystwyth and Devil's Bridge in the county of Ceredigion, Wales.
Until privatisation, it was the sole steam-operated line on the nationalised British Rail network, steam traction having ceased in 1968 on all other parts of the system. Unlike some other preserved railways in the United Kingdom, the Vale of Rheidol Railway has never closed, with the exception of wartime and has operated a service for tourists through its life. The railway celebrated its centenary in 2002.
The Railway is a charity, meaning the income it generates goes back into the railway, to aid in restoration and running of the steam locomotives. Buying through our online giftshop enables you to get the product you want but also donate to the railway and keep it alive.
Vale of Rheidol Trading Ltd
Company registration number: 9146470
VAT number: GB 489240712