The Victoria Tunnel in Liverpool, England is a long rail tunnel. Opened in 1849, its eastern portal is adjacent to Edge Hill station. The western portal opens into a short () cutting, between Byrom Street and Fontenoy Street, the shorter Waterloo Tunnel exits the cutting terminating at Waterloo Dock. The Victoria and Waterloo tunnels are effectively one long tunnel connected by a ventilation cutting. The whole length is generally known as the ''Waterloo Tunnel''.
==Constructing the tunnel==
The city of Liverpool is built on an escarpment. Edge Hill stands on the ridge to the east of the city. The escarpment falls down to the River Mersey. The Victoria Tunnel followed a western course downwards on a falling gradient of 1:57 to the river. The lowest point is at the Byrom Street cutting. The tunnel continues towards the Waterloo Dock with the much shorter Waterloo Tunnel. The tunnel rises upwards from this point with rising gradients of 1:513 for , 1:139 for and finally 1:86 for to the western Waterloo Dock portal.
When cutting the tunnel, from Byrom Street eastwards and upwards to Edge Hill the work was difficult as care was needed not to disturb the buildings as above due to the shallow depth of the tunnel. Ventilation is via air five air shafts. Refuges were cut into both walls as well as two small huts cut into the down-side for storage space rest places for rail workers. Demolition of buildings between Byrom Street and Fontenoy Street was needed to open out a box cutting, of in length where two sidings were laid. Locomotive watering tank facilities were installed in the cutting along with gas lighting, allowing 24-hour operation. The work cutting the tunnel from the Byrom Street Cutting to Waterloo Dock good station resulted in houses subsiding forcing the residents to abandon their homes.
In August 1849 the first goods trains ran through the tunnel. Rail wagons were pulled by locomotive from Waterloo Dock down a gradient to the Byrom Street cutting. From the cutting the tunnel rose to Edge Hill. Rail wagons were pulled up the steep gradient from the Byrom Street cutting by a wire rope. The rope was the largest iron wire rope ever manufactured. A brick building housed a large static steam engine that wound the rope pulling the rail wagons up the tunnel.
At in width and in height, the tunnel could accommodate rail wagons wide and high. Electric wiring was installed through the tunnel operating bells, allowing men at the Byrom Street cutting to communicate with men at Edge Hill.
The Victoria tunnel’s east portal at Edge Hill features a rusticated red sandstone arch. Of architectural merit the portal stonework has been Grade II listed since June 1985.
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