Advertisement

The story of a Leeds landmark which claimed the lives of more than 20 men

The story of the Bramhope Tunnel. (Photo: YPN)
The story of the Bramhope Tunnel. (Photo: YPN)

Bramhope Tunnel on the Leeds and Thirsk railway was built between 1845 and 1849 during which time close on two dozen men lost their lives. Indeed there were so many injuries at the site that a specially sprung cart was provided for Leeds Infirmary to take casualties the seven miles to the hospital. At peak times during its construction as many as 2,300 men and 400 horses were employed. There were quarrymen, stonemasons, tunnel men, labourers and carpenters all living in makeshift accommodation in a field opposite Bramhope Cemetery. The first train ran on the Harrogate line on November 27, 1848. READ MORE: 12 lost Leeds railway stations LOVE LEEDS? LOVE NOSTALGIA? Join Leeds Retro on facebook

The engineer was Thomas Grainger and the contractor James Bray. (Photo: YPN)
The engineer was Thomas Grainger and the contractor James Bray. (Photo: YPN)
The North Portal of Bramhope Tunnel, looking south along the tracks, and showing the Grade II listed crenelated structure and the large and small towers. Carvings in the stone can be seen on and above the archway. The North Portal is located in Long Balk Wood, to the north of Bramhope village. (Photo: Philip Wilde)
The North Portal of Bramhope Tunnel, looking south along the tracks, and showing the Grade II listed crenelated structure and the large and small towers. Carvings in the stone can be seen on and above the archway. The North Portal is located in Long Balk Wood, to the north of Bramhope village. (Photo: Philip Wilde)
The tunnel is 2.138 miles, or 3.441km in length, and runs between Horsforth Station and Arthington Viaduct. (Photo: YPN)
The tunnel is 2.138 miles, or 3.441km in length, and runs between Horsforth Station and Arthington Viaduct. (Photo: YPN)
The grand opening was on July 9 ,1849, a week later than intended, but the first train, full of Leeds and Thirsk railway officials, pulled by Bray's locomotive Stephenson, went through a few weeks earlier on May 31. The railway was opened to the public on July 10. When built it was the third-longest rail tunnel in the country. (Photo: Philip Wilde)
The grand opening was on July 9 ,1849, a week later than intended, but the first train, full of Leeds and Thirsk railway officials, pulled by Bray's locomotive Stephenson, went through a few weeks earlier on May 31. The railway was opened to the public on July 10. When built it was the third-longest rail tunnel in the country. (Photo: Philip Wilde)
This is a postcard view of All Saint's Church also referred to as Otley Parish Church. There are monuments to the Fawkes family and in the churchyard and a scale model of the Bramhope tunnel can be found. (Photo: Thoresby Society)
This is a postcard view of All Saint's Church also referred to as Otley Parish Church. There are monuments to the Fawkes family and in the churchyard and a scale model of the Bramhope tunnel can be found. (Photo: Thoresby Society)
An undated view of a monument in the churchyard of Otley's All Saint's Church in memory of all the men who lost their lives during the construction of Bramhope Railway Tunnel. It depicts the entrance to the tunnel at Arthington. (Photo: Leeds Libraries, www.leodis.net)
An undated view of a monument in the churchyard of Otley's All Saint's Church in memory of all the men who lost their lives during the construction of Bramhope Railway Tunnel. It depicts the entrance to the tunnel at Arthington. (Photo: Leeds Libraries, www.leodis.net)
The Bramhope Tunnel Memorial on Otley's Church Lane built in remembrance of all the men who were killed. Pictured in October 2003.  This castellated stone building is a replica of the tunnels northern portal entrance.
The Bramhope Tunnel Memorial on Otley's Church Lane built in remembrance of all the men who were killed. Pictured in October 2003. This castellated stone building is a replica of the tunnels northern portal entrance.
The Bramhope Tunnel Memorial is also known as the navvies monument. It was originally built in Caen stone at a cost of £300 but it became eroded and decayed and had to be replaced in the early 1900s. (Photo: Leeds Libraries, www.leodis.net)
The Bramhope Tunnel Memorial is also known as the navvies monument. It was originally built in Caen stone at a cost of £300 but it became eroded and decayed and had to be replaced in the early 1900s. (Photo: Leeds Libraries, www.leodis.net)
One of the four ventilation shafts along the line of the Bramhope Tunnel. This one, which is 240 foot deep, is situated near the junction of Moor Road and Camp Road, to the south west of Bramhope village. Twenty shafts were originally sunk to enable tunnelling work to take place; four were retained for ventilation, and the remainder capped off. (Photo: Philip Wilde)
This photo shows serious flooding in the summer of 2008 with Moseley Beck, a continuation of the Oil Mill Beck, bursting its banks and flowing down the railway tracks into the Horsforth end of Bramhope Tunnel. A lot of remedial work has been done on the beck since to stop this happening again. (Photo: Leeds Libraries, www.leodis.net)
This photo shows serious flooding in the summer of 2008 with Moseley Beck, a continuation of the Oil Mill Beck, bursting its banks and flowing down the railway tracks into the Horsforth end of Bramhope Tunnel. A lot of remedial work has been done on the beck since to stop this happening again. (Photo: Leeds Libraries, www.leodis.net)
A view of floodwater entering the Horsforth end of Bramhope Tunnel after Moseley Beck had burst its banks in  the summer of 2008. (Photo: Leeds Libraries, www.leodis.net)
A view of floodwater entering the Horsforth end of Bramhope Tunnel after Moseley Beck had burst its banks in the summer of 2008. (Photo: Leeds Libraries, www.leodis.net)