When originally built in 1876-77 as part of the Kidderminster Loop Line, the tunnel was lined with red brick and was 19ft wide. In 1876 two workmen were killed and two seriously injured during its construction.Unfortunately the sandstone through which the tunnel passes deteriorates on contact with air, and within 10 years part of the arch had given way under the weight of sand. Over the next 20 years, further small sections of the tunnel were relined, but in 1908 the decision was taken for the tunnel to be fully relined with two rings of blue bricks set in cement. The work began on 12 June 1910 and was completed on 20 October 1910. For safety, an occupation instrument was installed at the Bewdley end of the tunnel, linked to the Kidderminster Junction and Bewdley South signal boxes. After the last train of the day had cleared the section, withdrawal of the occupation key would prevent the release of the electric train staff at either end until work in the tunnel had been completed overnight and the occupation key replaced.
The track through the tunnel was replaced as part of a major refurbishment during the winter of 2011-12. In order to simplify future maintenance the existing jointed track was replaced by continuously welded rail (CWR), resulting in the absence of the traditional 'clickety-click' from the wheels as the train passes through the tunnel.
Both portals of the tunnel are included in the Wyre Forest District Council Local Heritage List, the eastern portal as item SVR014* and the western portal as item SVR014A.
See alsoTowards Kidderminster
List of infrastructure
Railway Navvies of the SVR
- Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 18 March 1876
- Marshall (1989) p. 92.
- SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society News 109, "Relaying of Bewdley Tunnel, 1910", John Marshall