View Full Version : Archived: Catesby Tunnel (Nth) - Catesby Viaduct Report 01/12/09

02-12-2009, 02:26 PM
Well It was a year ago, (December 2008), when me and 'Kingrat' ventured into the darkness for 6 hours that makes up the Abandoned, Great Central Railway's, 'Catesby Tunnel':thumb

Back then I had planned to walk out of the Northern end of the tunnel and get to the isolated Catesby Viaduct, but was thwarted not only by the locked Northern end gate but also failing daylight!:(

I vowed then, to return one day and finish the mission:thumb

Yesterday that mission was accomplished:lol:

With 3 hours of daylight available I packed me kit and hot footed it into a very rural Northamptonshire contryside.
Starting where I left off:thumb - The Northern Portal of Catesby Tunnel.


The Northern portal reached in December 2008 - Journeys End:lol:


Not much has changed from a year ago, except that I am outside:lol:

The gradient out of the tunnel runs down hill on a steady fall towards Catesby Viaduct, the water running out of the tunnel soon dissappears down one of the original trackside drains, then the land becomes a bit firmer under foot.


An old farm overbridge (bridge No.488) is first encountered some 200 yards from the tunnel, heavily overgrown and out of use. Located a short distance to the west of this point is Catesby House, the historic building in which Guy Fawkes, Robert Catesby and others hatched their Gunpowder Plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament:thumb


Beyond and buried in undergrowth is a Plate layers hut bigger than normal size, and full of Graffiti from passes by:)


The line eventually comes out of the undergrowth and levels out onto a banking that leads towards Catesby Viaduct.


A plate girder bridge has been taken up just before the Viaduct, its here that down on the banking another small P/Way hut survives in good condition along with what looks like a small water tower?


The Viaduct is eventually reached and although of only a 12 span it nevertheless is impressive as it crosses the valley below:thumb



An old Telegraph pole survives alongside the Viaduct.

The viaduct is bearing up well against the elements, but mainly going unchecked it is starting to deteriorate on the Western side with spawling and brickwork falling away.


What started out as a seed blown on the wind one day, has now sprouted into a bush, with roots that is eating away the brickwork at an alarming rate, Note the roots:eek:


Erosion on one side of the viaduct, gives a good example of how the viaduct was originally built by the Engineers, Note the stone bed.


Laying by the side amongst some old gravel are these bricks from Annesley Colliery, This line was made famous by the Annesley - Woodford Halse freights that use to ply there trade along here:thumb


More pics can be found here:

02-12-2009, 10:57 PM
A few original pics:thumb


The North end of Catesby tunnel' which at almost 3000 yards (2742 metres), was the longest on the GCR Main Line.


This photograph was taken looking north along the course of the GC's Main Line from the rising ground above the north portal of Catesby tunnel. Spanning the cutting beyond the tunnel's entrance is bridge 488:thumb


Overbridge No.488 spanning the London Extension north of Catesby tunnel, Northamptonshire, circa 1897. The wooden centrings have yet to be removed from the arches, and the cutting has yet to be dressed. T. Oliver & Son was the contractor who built this section of the Railway (Contract No.4, Rugby to Woodford).


Looking down into the valley towards the rising brick piers of Catesby viaduct, a twelve arch structure that eventually carried the London Extension across the River Leam. Running beside the infant viaduct and making the steep climb up towards the course of the main line is a section of contractor's temporary railway:thumb