Gomersal Tunnel

Gomersal Tunnel

Lined in blue engineering brick but with stone portals, Gomersal’s 819-yard tunnel was cut by the London & North Western Railway as part of its Leeds ‘new line’, opening on 1st October 1900.

On the surface, above its centre, is the Shoulder of Mutton pub which was bought by the company during construction, in case it fell into the workings. Now, when draymen use the barrel drop, the noise echoes around the tunnel and vibrations are felt in the cottage next door.

The section of route between Farnley Junction and Cleckheaton Spen was deemed surplus to requirements on 6th September 1965, but reopened in November to maintain a connection to Liversedge Spen. Closure finally claimed it on 11th January 1966 when a new spur was commissioned from the L&Y line at Heckmondwike.

Gomersal Tunnel follows an S-shaped alignment and includes a single ventilation shaft – now capped – close to its centre. Water is allowed to drain into the tunnel at the west portal via a pipe in the south wall – this results in considerable volumes of standing water following periods of wet weather.

The odd brick structure at the western end would have allowed access for inspections after the approach cutting was infilled. But, at the last moment, Railtrack and Kirklees Council dithered and, in 1997, decided to stop any further tipping on the site.

(Many thanks to Michael King for the above information).

June 2013