Britain's Road Tunnels

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darkcape
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Britain's Road Tunnels

Post by darkcape » Wed Jan 20, 2021 20:24

Recently SABRE was asked to review Britain's Road Tunnels by Mark Chatterton - believed to be the first book of it's kind that covers all of Britain's public road tunnels and several private ones. On behalf of the Committee I'm pleased to have been given the opportunity to review this publication.

Along with bridges, tunnels often form the more interesting elements of infrastructure that engineers across the world create. Disappearing beneath the earth, the swift change of daylight to darkness, and emerging in potentially a completely different environment; it is no surprise they command the interest of travellers. Husband-and-wife team Mark and Wendy Chatterton have toured the UK, visiting various tunnels, and finding out more about these unique travel links.

Britain’s Road Tunnels is laid out in a logical and legible format, with types of tunnels grouped together by type such as trunk road tunnels and road/rail tunnels. Arranged alphabetically, this format allows easy reference should the reader wish to return to a particular tunnel for further reading. Each tunnel is described and geographically placed, explaining the reasoning behind the tunnel, some technical details such as lengths & dimensions, and varying history, trivia and further information to tell the more interesting stories of each tunnel.

Chatterton acknowledges that for several tunnels, information is lacking – however all entries have enough information for the reader to understand the purpose of the tunnel and appreciate its quirks. Most tunnels are accompanied by photographs taken by Mrs Chatterton providing realistic user’s viewpoints of the tunnels. One hopes that either Mrs Chatteron shared her husband’s interest in road infrastructure – or had amazing levels of patience for her husband’s hobby!

The latter section of the book focusses on ‘road tunnels beneath rail viaducts’ which are often overlooked. Former road tunnels and private tunnels, where accessible, have been included, meaning that even the most well-travelled road user may glean some new information. Whilst purists (or engineers!) may disagree with some of Chatterton’s definitions/inclusions as tunnels, the varied selection highlights how diverse elements of road infrastructure can be. Britain’s Road Tunnels is a great introduction to sub-terranean roadways and may provide an excellent guide for a tunnel-spotter or road infrastructure roadtrip!

The book is available from Amberley Publishing , Waterstones or other independent bookshops, and has an RRP of £14.99.

Have any other members read this - and what did you think? SABRE & Roads.org.uk are also kindly referenced in the book as sources of information on roads & tunnels.

fras
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Re: Britain's Road Tunnels

Post by fras » Wed Jan 20, 2021 21:59

I've just ordered it, using your link, so will let you know.

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hoagy_ytfc
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Re: Britain's Road Tunnels

Post by hoagy_ytfc » Thu Jan 21, 2021 01:22

Same author has a book on bridges which is truly useless, IMO. Hopefully this one is better...

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Re: Britain's Road Tunnels

Post by Micro The Maniac » Thu Jan 21, 2021 08:11

The usual South American river has it for £11.99

Does this site have a referral code?

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Re: Britain's Road Tunnels

Post by KeithW » Thu Jan 21, 2021 08:45

I see there is also a Kindle Edition and the previously mentioned online site has a Look Inside option that allows a preview of the first few pages so you can get a flavour. From what I can see the level of detail is not high, a single picture and a couple of chapters , rather less in fact that what is in the wiki so I will be giving this a miss.

At the other end of the scale they have this:
The Mersey Road Tunnels: The First Eighty Years in Pictures

This covers the subject in great detail with early plans and drawings and photos of construction etc. and is definitely on my 'I want it NOW' list. Its also available in electronic and print format.

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c2R
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Re: Britain's Road Tunnels

Post by c2R » Thu Jan 21, 2021 10:50

Micro The Maniac wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 08:11
The usual South American river has it for £11.99

Does this site have a referral code?
I've asked in committee.
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Re: Britain's Road Tunnels

Post by Rambo » Sat Feb 06, 2021 22:41

A question related to tunnels (but not the book) is what constitutes a tunnel? a certain length?
The below image is the A57 Cadishead bypass which passes under a disused railway line. Now it is clearly not a tunnel as such but i always wonder if this was any longer it could be classed as one.
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Big L
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Re: Britain's Road Tunnels

Post by Big L » Sun Feb 07, 2021 09:47

I have said this before - bridge and tunnel are verbs as well as nouns. If you build a structure through the air, that's a bridge. If you are digging through earth it's a tunnel. There are edge cases like cut-and-cover.

If the road was built after the embankment, and they dug through the embankment, it's a tunnel. If however, they removed the entire embankment in a V or U shape, built the structure then backfilled the gap, then they built a bridge.
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Re: Britain's Road Tunnels

Post by Bomag » Sun Feb 07, 2021 13:55

Unlike bridge / viaduct there is an engineering difference between a tunnel and a bridge. If the structural stability requires the presence of either the surcharge from the ground arround it, or in the case of cut/cover, the roof keeps the sides apart then it is a tunnel. That disctption is simplied and can be misleading if you are looking at brick arch bridges, but it is a good rule of thum.

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Re: Britain's Road Tunnels

Post by KeithW » Sun Feb 07, 2021 14:26

Big L wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 09:47
I have said this before - bridge and tunnel are verbs as well as nouns. If you build a structure through the air, that's a bridge. If you are digging through earth it's a tunnel. There are edge cases like cut-and-cover.

If the road was built after the embankment, and they dug through the embankment, it's a tunnel. If however, they removed the entire embankment in a V or U shape, built the structure then backfilled the gap, then they built a bridge.
Which would make any cut and cover tunnel such as that at Hatfield a bridge ! Even odder the Metropolitan Line which was built using cut and cover would have to be classed as a bridge despite running under the streets of London.

A better definition is I think the simple one, that a bridge goes over something while a tunnel goes through or under it. The Tyne tunnel goes under the river the Tyne bridge goes over it. Tunneling is simply the verb used to describe the action of making a tunnel i.e. "To Dig or force a passage underground or through something."

A viaduct is essentially a series of bridges that carries a transport artery over one or more obstacles. The Tees Viaduct carries the A19 over Stockton Road ,the A66, the railway, the river Tees and Lustrum Beck on multiple spans. The Leven Viaduct carries the A19 over the Leven Valley on multiple spans and of course the now demolished Huntingdon Viaduct was another such example.

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Re: Britain's Road Tunnels

Post by WHBM » Sun Feb 07, 2021 17:40

A406 North Circular under the Kings Cross railway in New Southgate :

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.610614, ... 384!8i8192

To me it's a tunnel. Yet TfL have a policy that all tunnels have double white lines on both carriageways, and this one doesn't.

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Re: Britain's Road Tunnels

Post by vlad » Sun Feb 07, 2021 19:35

Big L wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 09:47
If the road was built after the embankment, and they dug through the embankment, it's a tunnel. If however, they removed the entire embankment in a V or U shape, built the structure then backfilled the gap, then they built a bridge.
That would mean that the Weston Hill Tunnel on the A505 here is a bridge, even though practically everyone would say it's a tunnel if asked.
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Re: Britain's Road Tunnels

Post by KeithW » Sun Feb 07, 2021 20:02

WHBM wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 17:40
A406 North Circular under the Kings Cross railway in New Southgate :

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.610614, ... 384!8i8192

To me it's a tunnel. Yet TfL have a policy that all tunnels have double white lines on both carriageways, and this one doesn't.
The railway predates the A406. Look at a 19th century map and there is no road, the railway is on an embankment so whatever TfL policy may be the A406 is in a tunnel.

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Re: Britain's Road Tunnels

Post by Scratchwood » Mon Feb 08, 2021 00:32

WHBM wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 17:40
A406 North Circular under the Kings Cross railway in New Southgate :

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.610614, ... 384!8i8192

To me it's a tunnel. Yet TfL have a policy that all tunnels have double white lines on both carriageways, and this one doesn't.
I had wondered if further west, the "green bridge" where the A406 goes under East End Road near Finchley was a tunnel or a bridge. Chris's site calls it the "A406 East End Road Tunnel"!

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.5946857 ... 384!8i8192
https://www.roads.org.uk/motorway/a406/160

I hadn't realised that TfL had a specific policy of all tunnels having double white lines, as opposed to something specifically decided for each tunnel, thanks

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Re: Britain's Road Tunnels

Post by KeithW » Mon Feb 08, 2021 08:22

Scratchwood wrote:
Mon Feb 08, 2021 00:32
I had wondered if further west, the "green bridge" where the A406 goes under East End Road near Finchley was a tunnel or a bridge. Chris's site calls it the "A406 East End Road Tunnel"!

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.5946857 ... 384!8i8192
https://www.roads.org.uk/motorway/a406/160

I hadn't realised that TfL had a specific policy of all tunnels having double white lines, as opposed to something specifically decided for each tunnel, thanks
As I recall this was one of the sections upgraded in the 1980's. Originally it was a flat junction but when the A406 was dualled the tunnel was built to go under the East End Road. A quick check on old maps showed this layout so its indeed a tunnel.
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Re: Britain's Road Tunnels

Post by Herned » Mon Feb 08, 2021 09:03

Early 90s, it was the second to last section to be upgraded, Silver Street tunnel was the last (ignoring the crappy bit through Bounds Green).

I would say that was functionally a tunnel, there is more than just a road/railway over the road. And it has it's own lighting... but there is no clear definition.

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Re: Britain's Road Tunnels

Post by RichardA35 » Mon Feb 08, 2021 09:55

WHBM wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 17:40
..Yet TfL have a policy that all tunnels have double white lines on both carriageways, and this one doesn't.,
There are no double white lines in the A2 Eltham and A40 Hangar Lane tunnels (latest GSV) that are actually TfL tunnels so I suspect this is a policy related to something else, perhaps following a risk assessment, rather than just a blanket requirement for tunnels.

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Re: Britain's Road Tunnels

Post by ChrisH » Mon Feb 08, 2021 09:56

Isn't the division between tunnels and long bridges more that tunnels have ventilation equipment, signs to emergency exits etc? I seem to remember that there is a 150m minimum length as well.

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Re: Britain's Road Tunnels

Post by Bryn666 » Mon Feb 08, 2021 10:19

ChrisH wrote:
Mon Feb 08, 2021 09:56
Isn't the division between tunnels and long bridges more that tunnels have ventilation equipment, signs to emergency exits etc? I seem to remember that there is a 150m minimum length as well.
DMRB certainly says anything longer than 150m is a tunnel and then you're into ventilation requirements, ADR management, lighting, emergency exits, etc.

CD352: For the purposes of this document a road tunnel is defined as a subsurface highway structure enclosed for a length of 150m, or more, measured along the centre line of the soffit.
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Re: Britain's Road Tunnels

Post by WHBM » Mon Feb 08, 2021 10:50

RichardA35 wrote:
Mon Feb 08, 2021 09:55
WHBM wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 17:40
..Yet TfL have a policy that all tunnels have double white lines on both carriageways, and this one doesn't.,
There are no double white lines in the A2 Eltham and A40 Hangar Lane tunnels (latest GSV) that are actually TfL tunnels so I suspect this is a policy related to something else, perhaps following a risk assessment, rather than just a blanket requirement for tunnels.
You are correct, of course, and I wonder if it's because these have a speed limit of 40 rather than 30 (in which case my North Circular example is the same). When the double white lines were installed elsewhere in a campaign, probably around the year 2005, it was described (a press release done by the Limehouse/A13 DBFO, in the local rag) that this was being done for TfL policy, even short tunnels like East India Dock at Canary Wharf, or at Hyde Park Corner. The mainstream Limehouse Link, which I think is TfL's longest tunnel, was described as not practical for them, because of the junction halfway through.

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