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British Industrial History

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Victoria Tunnel, Liverpool

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The Victoria Tunnel is a 2,707 yards former long rail tunnel in Liverpool

Opened in 1849, its eastern portal is adjacent to Edge Hill station. The western end opens into a short cutting, between Byrom Street and Fontenoy Street, the short Waterloo Tunnel exits the cutting terminating at Waterloo Dock. The Victoria and Waterloo tunnel are effectively one long tunnel with a ventilation cutting. The whole length is generally known as the Waterloo Tunnel.

For many years haulage of trains was by wire rope, worked by a stationary steam engine. This system was abandoned in 1895 in favour of conventional locomotive haulage.

Passenger services were ended in 1971 following the marked decline in transatlantic passenger services by ship from Liverpool. The tunnel closed on 19 November 1972, but continues to be maintained by Network Rail.

The Victoria Tunnel was considered as an addition to Merseyrail in 1975, to link the city centre to the east of Liverpool. However, the tunnel was rejected in favour of the Wapping Tunnel. At Liverpool Central station, spur works were built to enable a tunnelled connection to the Wapping Tunnel creating a route to Edge Hill railway station and the Canada Dock Branch. This plan would have included the reopening of stations such as Breck Road railway station as part of the Merseyrail system. Budget cuts prevented further work.

For more information, see Wikipedia entry.

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