The Severn Tunnel

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The Severn Tunnel  (1888) 
by Thomas Andrew Walker

THE

SEVERN TUNNEL:

Its Construction and Difficulties.

1872-1887.


BY

THOMAS A. WALKER.

WITH FIVE PORTRAITS ON STEEL AND UPWARDS OF FORTY SKETCHES AND PLANS.


LONDON:

RICHARD BENTLEY & SON, NEW BURLINGTON STREET.

Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen.

1888.

Sir John Hawkshaw FRS (G J Stodart 1888).jpg
Sir John Hawkshaw, F.R.S.
Engraved by G. J. Stodart from a photograph by Barraud

DEDICATION.


The following account of some of the difficulties met with in the construction of the Severn Tunnel, and how they were surmounted, is, by kind permission, dedicated to the Engineer-in-Chief, Sir John Hawkshaw, of whose professional skill and indomitable perseverance the Tunnel itself will ever remain a lasting monument.

T. A. W.

June 14, 1888.

framless
Thomas A. Walker
Engraved by G. J. Stodard from a photograph by Barbaud
London, Richard Bentley and Son, 1888
Preface vi
List of Portraits on Steel xi
List of Illustrations xiii
I. Description of the estuary of the Severn, and the country in the immediate neighbourhood of the Severn Tunnel. 1
II. The early history of the undertaking. 11
III. The commencement of the works under the contract. 26
IV. The final struggle. 45
V. Great snow storm; strike among the miners; River Severn breaks in on the sea-wall side. 59
VI. Tunnelling. 77
VII. A year of good progress [1882]. 98
VIII. Further progress and greater troubles. 119
IX. A week of troubles. 127
X. The means taken to deal with the great spring. 137
XI. Side-heading drvien to Big Spring; completion of the Brickwork; Big Spring shut out; works passed by Board of Trade. 144
XII. The men by whom the work was done. 165
Appendix: Description of the large pumps by Messrs. Harvey, of Hayle Foundry. 180

LIST OF PORTRAITS ON STEEL.


Sir John Hawkshaw, F.R.S. frontispiece
(engraved by J. G. Stodart)
Mr. Thomas A. Walker to face preface
(engraved by J. G. Stodart)
Mr. Charles Richardson  to face page 12
(engraved by W. H. Gibbs)
Mr. J. Clarke Hawkshaw 157
(engraved by W. H. Gibbs)
Mr. Harrison Hayter 166
(engraved by W. H. Gibbs)

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


TO FACE
PAGE
View of Telford’s Bridge at Gloucester 1
   The Severn (Railway) Bridge 2
   Sudbrook Chapel 4
Map (1-inch Ordnance) showing Line of the Severn Tunnel 10
Plan of Sudbrook in 1873 (before the Severn Tunnel was commenced) 14
Plan showing Position of the Old Shaft, Iron Shaft, and Headings 16
Section showing all Headings driven when the ‘Big Spring’ broke in 18
Plan of Sudbrook in 1879 18
Plan of Shield put in the Old Shaft to keep back the ‘Big Spring’ 28
Longitudinal Section of the Severn Tunnel, showing Geological Strata as found 32
Cross Section of Tunnel, showing Arch 34
Plan of Sudbrook in 1880 38
Plan of Headwalls and Doors in the Heading at Sudbrook 54
View of Portskewett Pier, with the Tunnel Works in the distance 66
Plan of Methods of Timbering Headings 80
   ‘Breaking up’ from the Heading 82
   Break-up Length with Centres 84
   Timbering for Tunnel in Soft Ground 86
Section showing Method of Sinking 29-foot Shaft and Curbs 88
View of Sir John Hawkshaw inspecting the Works, and at Work in the Tunnel 102
Plan of the Infirmary at Sudbrook 106
   the New Mission Hall, Sudbrook 108
View of Sudbrook 118
Plan of Sudbrook in 1882 118
   Cavity, Headwall, and all Headings near the ‘Big Spring’ 124
View of the Temporary Engine-Houses at Sudbrook 130
   the Permanent Engine-Houses at Sudbrook 130
   Men in Boat sawing the Timber 132
   Flooded Cutting 134
Plan of the Temporary Pumping-Engines for the Great Spring and Pumps in the Tunnel 138
Elevation of Temporary Engine-Houses for the Great Spring 140
View of the Fever Hospital at Sudbrook 142
Plan of the Fever Hospital at Sudbrook 142
   Side-Heading to the Great Spring 146
   Fissure and all Headings at Great Spring 148
   Sudbrook in 1884 150
Progress Sections for the Years 1881-4 151
Plan of Permanent Pumps at Sudbrook—Engines and Pumps at top of Shaft 164
Plan of Permanent Pumps—Plan of Engines round Shaft 164
Plan of Permanent Pumps—Pumps in Shaft 164