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Thread: Mersey tunnel and ventilation shafts

  1. #1
    georgie t
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    Arrow Mersey tunnel and ventilation shafts

    had a crackin mooch here october last yr

    seen the control room first hand and the huge fans that control the flow of air
    then under the road surface to the tunnel itself
    along some escape tunnels to see the cars flying past
    also had a look at the service tunnels (central avenue)

    well worth paying a visit to this place

    a bit of history
    http://www.tunnelusers.org.uk/history.htm



    control room....






    airlock door as you enter the chamber..


    one of the motors that powers these big fans


    and the fan in action...


    looking up a fresh air shaft....


    one of many escape tunnels...


    a little section where you could look through the old dock to the foundations of the cunard building



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    going under the road surface to the access tunnels


    access tunnels....






    central avenue....under the actual road surface itself

  2. #2
    Senior Member Davec's Avatar
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    Bloody smashin, love them, cheers George.

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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Excellent photos there, georgie!

    Cheers

    Chris
    Christopher T. George
    Editor, Ripperologist
    Editor, Loch Raven Review
    http://christophertgeorge.blogspot.com/
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    Member tezmac's Avatar
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    It is a very interesting tour
    In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king

  5. #5
    Re-member Ged's Avatar
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    Mart, JB and myself went on this tour last thursday. Highly recommended. I notice my photos are almost identical to georgies. It has a fantastic history as another world first for Liverpool and seeing what goes on in only 1 of 5 still used shafts for the Queensway tunnel (the Kingsway has 2) I will never moan about the toll cost again. 300 staff control the tunnels in some way or another and i'll post pics up that compliment georgies.

    We were first shown a dvd of its building, opening and usage which details how Wallasey and Bootle soon dropped out leaving the funding to be met by Liverpool, Birkenhead and the Government, the scheme went ahead after a public vote. Ventilation was not even taken into account at the outset until a half mile tunnel in New York reported drivers falling asleep at the wheel due to carbon monoxide poisoning. A rethink here meant a rise of nearly 2 million pounds to just under 8 million. A bridge river crossing had been discounted as it would have cost 10 million and was deemed a risk should war come to us again, WWI still in the memory - and indeed war was to come again too.

    The huge fans situated in the Georges Dock building were put into place and the building built around them. As such with such a new venture, two of everything were put in which now acts as a great back up. The lighting which runs along the tunnel roof is not one continuous strip as it looks but is in sections, each section controlled independantly by Liverpool, then the next by Birkehead, then the next by Liverpool and so on. That is because in the event of a power cut on one side of the river, lighting would still be in situ controlled by the other side.

    Basically, fresh cold air is drawn in from above and forced down through fans and up into the tunnel at kerbside which naturally pushes warmer dirty toxic ridden air up towards the fans which extract it out of holes in the tunnel roof and away via more fans to the outside. It was great watching these fans in action and feeling the rush of the air.

    In the control room we were shown how the push of a button can control or shut off fans in the event of a car fire, explosion, dangerous leakage or breakdown and how they operate closely with the police in such situations. The highlight is entering No.15 arch of the Brunswick Street bridge, that which holds Brunswick street up between the Port of Liverpool building and Cunard Building and was built into the dock. From this room, through torchlight shone into holes in the wall, you can see the line of other arches going into the distance and from a hole inthe opposite wall, you can see the original sandstone wall of Georges Dock, upon which the Liver was built and also includes the foundations of Cunard Building, a true history lesson.


    Hard hats and hi-viz jackets are the order of the day for this 2 hour + tour. It's not for you if you don't like heights, narrow staircases or are claustraphobic and i don't think it will cater for the disabled but this is us in the Georges Dock ventilation shaft building, pre-tour.



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    These are some of the original 1930s hardware associated with the tunnel including art deco lighting and toll booth as well as architecture by Herbert J. Rowse incorporated into the shafts themselves which you later see from below and the cover of one of the shafts.




    The original pick axe used in the breakthrough.



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    Original detailing such as white glazed wall tiles, ceramic floor tiles and these doors are still in situ. Amazing detailing went into what was never meant to be seen by the ordinary Joe Public like what we're allowed to see now.



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    This is in No.15 Arch of Brunswick road Bridge, a far more elaborate design than the water Street bridge. Looking through this hole you can see the other arches and follow the route. Also, one of the very knowledgable female tour guides drops a lump hammer on a piece of rope through this and you hear it land into the water thats still in the dock. The buildings down here do flood in their basements in high tide.



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    To enable you to get your bearings of where i'm on about. The Brunswick Road arched bridge can be seen clearly in this pic dating from 1907.



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    This is the boiler room. Should any power be lost to the electrically controlled main fans, there is a diesel generator back up system.



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    This is called Central Avenue and is under the roadway and was where trams were originally meant to travel along. This never materialised and now is used to carry the orange BT cables under river and to the left in those casings are the Liverpool to Birkenhead power supply. The trickle of water running down the middle channel is land water. The tunnel is dry lined and is between 120ft and 140 ft below the river bed (depending on what part of the tunnel you're in) so it can never let in or flood directly from the River itself.



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    This is one of the huge 80 RPM fans that takes out the foul air from the tunnel and is original.



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    It is powered by these motors which are not original.



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    The shaft from where some of the fresh air is taken



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    This shaft is where the air is force up onto the roadway via holes just above the kerbside. The shaft is curved and angled in such a way as to be controlled otherwise the cars above would be knocked sideways. It was might cold and draughty down there and you can see why it has to be controlled. There are lots of back up controls and automatic kick in devices should one or more fail. Everything seems to have been looked into and catered for.



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    One of the two fresh air fans in this particular shaft. Should one fail, it is automatically shoved out of the way to the far corner and is replaced by another as it has to sit directly with the shaft to be of use.



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    Technically the oldest part of the tunnel. Originally two shafts were dug. One at Georges Dock and the other in Birkenhead. This piece of the tunnel was bore to get to where the actual roadway tunnel now is. A sort of pilot tunnel to the larger one.



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    Refuge point G. This is where drivers are instructed to come directly from the tunnel should there be a major incident. It is linked via a screen to the authorities and is two-way. A leaky feed into the tunnel means that the radio station on your car or even if you are listening to a cd, can be intercepted and you are instructed what to do. There is also a tannoy system that would be operating too. In the Mont Blanc disaster, some things were not in place and their refuge rooms, unlike these were not linked to each other so once in - you were trapped. These ones have a heating system, seating and water supply and are based within Central Avenue that was mentioned earlier.



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    One of the staircases used to reach the depths.



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    We were given a little commemorative medal engraved with the tunnel entrance and 1934. It will take pride of place with the ones for my 10km road races through this and Kingsway.



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    And what better way to finsih off the evening but with a pint or three in the Pig & Whistle with Mart and Johnny Blue.

    These and the rest, mostly the same as Georgiet's will be going onto my site under the inside old buildings thread.




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    Updated weekly with old and new pics.

  6. #6
    Senior Member GNASHER's Avatar
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    Went on the tour a few years back,10/10.

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