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Remoting the Materials to Tunnel Shaft Project by Helicopter

Remoting the Materials to Cowburn Tunnel ventilation shaft drainage Project by Helicopter

Carrying the construction materials for a challenging ventilation shaft drainage project in the Peak District was done using a helicopter by Network Rail.

One of the responsibilities of this airlift was providing components to engineers working on a scheme to keep the Cowburn Tunnel dry for trains running on the Hope Valley Line.

In order to provide the ventilation of this rail tunnel, which takes passengers deep under the hills around Kinder Scout, a shaft with 241m deep accessed via moorland near Mam Tor has been dug.

The other advantages of this shaft that is constructed in the 1890s, involve transferring rainfall to filter down to the tracks below, which Network Rail tackled this summer by installing a system of drainage pipes.

Moreover, movement of the large trusses by air is due to allowing the construction of a platform from which to lower workers down into the shaft on a custom-built cradle.

Network Rail works delivery manager Dennis McGonnell said: “It’s a huge privilege to keep heritage structures like Cowburn Tunnel in good condition for rail passengers and freight and it’s amazing to see up close the quality of the Victorians’ workmanship.”

He also added: “We work on a lot of structures in remote locations but working in a tunnel this deep and using helicopters to get materials to the site is rare. It makes you realize what an amazing feat of engineering building this tunnel and ventilation shaft was all that time ago without the modern machinery we have today.”

The work is scheduled to be completed in the current week.

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