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Railway Structures
Tunnels between Blackheath and Woolwich Arsenal

The South Eastern Railway's line from St John's (Lewisham) to Gravesend via Woolwich, opened in 1849, has a series of tunnels between Blackheath and Woolwich Arsenal. Several of these have portals with decorative brickwork.
 
Blackheath Tunnel, photographed on 10th January 2009.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

Blackheath Tunnel

Blackheath Tunnel, between Blackheath and Charlton, is by far the longest, at 1,681 yards. Features of the south portal include a stone string course and a peaked parapet. The dentils around the arch ring are an unusual and attractive feature. There are massive wing walls. The north portal is similar. Tunnels constructed two years later in Hastings have similar dentilled portals.

Charlton Tunnel Charlton Tunnel, photographed on 10th January 2009.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

Charlton Tunnel has very similar portals to Blackheath Tunnel, but with much smaller wing walls. The stone string course has been replaced in brick, but that apart, quite extensive modern repairs to the west portal have retained the original design.

Charlton Tunnel.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

Charlton Tunnel
 
Mount Street Tunnel Mount Street Tunnel, photographed on 10th January 2009.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

Only a short distance west of Charlton Tunnel is Mount Street Tunnel, 121 yards long. This is unusual in that the tunnel profile changes. The eastern portal is similar to those of Charlton Tunnel.

Mount Street Tunnel.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

Mount Street Tunnel

The western portal is plainer. The parapet is much the same, but the arch is lower and with plain rings.

Dockyard Tunnel Dockyard Tunnel, photographed on 10th January 2009.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

Dockyard Tunnel has a dentilled parapet and plain arch at its west end, similar to the western portal of Mount Street Tunnel. However, the eastern portal, at Woolwich Dockyard station is completely plain. This tunnel is also 121 yards long.

Coleman Street Tunnel, photographed on 10th January 2009.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

Coleman Street Tunnel

Coleman Street Tunnel, at the east end of Woolwich Dockyard station, has a similar parapet and profile as Charlton Tunnel, but plain arch rings. A buttress has been built against it on the down platform. The tunnel is 89 yards long.

George IV Tunnel George IV Tunnel, photographed on 10th January 2009.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

George IV Tunnel, west of Coleman Street Tunnel, has fairly plain portals, similar to the western portal of Mount Street Tunnel. The parapet has been rebuilt with a contrasting band of brick, but is not peaked. The tunnel is 238 yards long and takes its name from a public house that it passes below.

There are two further "tunnels" before Woolwich Arsenal station, Calderwood Street and Cross Street. However, these are bridge structures, with concrete beams supporting buildings over the railway.

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This page was created 20 January 2010

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