We’re lucky that we have the opportunity to support local projects in our own unique way and one of these interesting projects we are fortunate to work on is the Victoria Tunnel.
The Victoria Tunnel is the historical preservation project of a 19th century wagon-way that lies under Newcastle. The tunnels run from the Town Moor to the Tyne. They were originally used to transport coal from the Spital Tongues Colliery to the banks of the river to load on to ships for haulage from 1842 to 1860.
After the colliery closed, the tunnels remained largely forgotten throughout the rest of the century, and interest in the Victoria Tunnel did not pick back up again until the start of World War 2, when a practical use for the tunnels came about. In 1939, they were converted into an air raid shelter, which accommodated up to 9000 residents.
The tunnels closed again after World War 2 and remained closed until 2006 when much needed structural repairs and safety measures were added to the tunnels. Since 2010 the Ouseburn Trust has operated guided tours. While the original tunnel is 2.4 miles long and is largely still intact, a shorter 700m section is open to the public as part of these tours.
Following inspection of the condition of the tunnel in 2014, Patrick Parsons Consulting Engineers advised Newcastle City Council that a section of the tunnel which runs underneath Metro & Network Rail lines should be monitored for movement.
We have been enlisted to carry out an annual survey of the tunnel to monitor for movement. Landform Surveys established a levelling network through this section. We monitor to sub millimetre accuracy so we can be as accurate as possible when delivering our findings. The importance of this is to establish if there is any movement, and if so, how much. This helps provide the data needed to make decisions about the planning of the future of the building and making sure it is structurally sound so people can enjoy the tunnels for many years to come.