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Author Topic: Box Tunnel at sunrise on Brunel's birthday (9 April) - merged topics, ongoing discussion  (Read 8242 times)
smokey
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« on: January 01, 2008, 09:14:59 PM »

It's a fairly well known fact that on certain days around Brunels Birthday the Rising Sun shines right through Box Tunnel, but has anyone ever seen a photograph of this happening?
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smokey
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2008, 10:33:03 PM »

Errm, NO takers, Nobodys seen a Photo of the Sun Shining straight though BOX Tunnel, Me wonders is this a great big Wiltshire Joke on the rest of Britain?

Do I take it that the Sun Shining though this tunnel is a miff, sorry Myth.
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2008, 10:47:42 PM »

I think the jury is still out on this one: all I've been able to to find is this - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Box_Tunnel#Brunel.27s_birthday
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2008, 10:56:19 PM »

'Spoke' too soon - I've also found this: "A photograph of the event was taken in 1985 (GReat Western 150 year) by a BR Engineer and was used on the front of the BR booklet issued to staff for the "Triple Gold" celebrations in 1991" at http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/content/articles/2006/04/05/brunel_200_wiltshire_feature.shtml
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
Lee
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2008, 12:16:52 PM »

Box Tunnel, which claimed the lives of about 100 workers during its construction in the 1830s, will be the focus of Building Wonders next Thursday (link below.)
http://thisisbath.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=163490&command=displayContent&sourceNode=163316&contentPK=19935583&folderPk=89126&pNodeId=163047

The six-part ITV West series is being presented by archaeologist and broadcaster Julian Richards.

Richards will take a look at iconic West Country landmarks and explain how and why they were made.

Thursday's programme starts at 7.30pm.
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smokey
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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2008, 02:08:49 PM »

Sure hope someone has a nice shot of the Sun shining though the tunnel as the sun rises around Brunel's Birthday.

Brunel must have been one hell of a clever bloke, it's still outside most civil engineers of today to work out the angle's and alignment to be as clever as this, and if this was tackled it would be done on a PC.
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Phil
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« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2008, 06:55:02 PM »

Actually, he was a bit out, Smokey mate.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel's birthday was 9th April. The sun actually shone through on 5th June. The first train passed through Box Tunnel on 30 June, 1841.
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Btline
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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2008, 06:58:42 PM »

i think it is a myth.

Why?

I don't think Brunel would have wanted to do anything to slow down the trains (ie moving the tunnel etc.).

Of course, I believe he could have done so- if he had wanted!!!!!
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smokey
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« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2008, 10:35:26 AM »

Actually, he was a bit out, Smokey mate.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel's birthday was 9th April. The sun actually shone through on 5th June. The first train passed through Box Tunnel on 30 June, 1841.

From what I understand the rising sun shines through Box Tunnel for several days each year around the time of Brunels Birthday, and like an Eclipse depending on exact location will last from arond a Second to as long as maybe 30 odd seconds.

I just wish to see the evidence.
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miniman
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« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2008, 07:41:41 AM »

Thought that was both interesting but in a way a little disappointing. Very surprised to see how they dropped the vertical shafts first, I had read in the past that they tunnelled from each end and met perfectly in the middle. Couldn't help feeling that the BBC, or Channel 4, or Discovery, would have made a better job of it than the light channel.
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smokey
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« Reply #10 on: February 29, 2008, 01:16:12 PM »

Thought that was both interesting but in a way a little disappointing. Very surprised to see how they dropped the vertical shafts first, I had read in the past that they tunnelled from each end and met perfectly in the middle. Couldn't help feeling that the BBC, or Channel 4, or Discovery, would have made a better job of it than the light channel.

Vertical shafts were built to make tunnel digging quicker, from each end you have just two work faces, 1 vertical shaft doubles the work faces to four, a second vertical shaft brings in 6 work faces etc.
These shafts were then left as Ventilators.

Not all tunnels have Vertical shafts, tunnels under mountains don't have ventilators, the longest Single bore Railway tunnel in Britain (on Conway valley line) over 2miles long No Ventilator. Healthy in steam days.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2008, 06:14:34 PM by smokey » Logged
Btline
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« Reply #11 on: February 29, 2008, 06:42:41 PM »

Thought that was both interesting but in a way a little disappointing. Very surprised to see how they dropped the vertical shafts first, I had read in the past that they tunnelled from each end and met perfectly in the middle. Couldn't help feeling that the BBC, or Channel 4, or Discovery, would have made a better job of it than the light channel.

Vertical shafts were built to make tunnel digging quicker, from each end you have just two work faces, 1 vertical shaft doubles the work faces to four, a second vertical shaft brings in 6 work faces etc.
These shafts were then left as Ventilators.

Not all tunnels have Vertical shafts, tunnels under mountains don't have ventilators, the longest Single bore Railway tunnel in Britain (on Conway valley line) over 2miles long No Ventilator healthy in steam days.

And very "smokey" as well!  Wink
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2010, 05:50:17 PM »

From the Network Rail press release:

Quote
For the first time in decades, Box Tunnel^s famous western portal can be seen displayed in its full splendour, owing to a major clean-up by Network Rail engineers.

The western portal of Box Tunnel is the grand entrance to the 2,964-metre long structure, and until today, the view of its decorated fa^ade from the public viewing platform on London Road (A4, Bath) had been blocked by overgrown plants along the railway embankment.

These invasive plants have now been carefully removed to make room for non-invasive plants to flourish and new trees to be planted without blocking the newly restored view of the Grade II* listed structure.

The viewing platform is the only vantage point of the western portal that is most accessible to the public and it is a popular destination for Brunel enthusiasts.

Network Rail^s initiative is welcomed and backed by the Railway Heritage Trust, Box and Colerne Parish Council and Wiltshire Council.  It also pays tribute to the engineer^s 204th birthday on 9 April and the upcoming 175th anniversary of Great Western Railway.

Jack Hitchcock, western maintenance director for Network Rail said: "Box Tunnel is one of Brunel^s masterpieces on Great Western and despite its age, still plays an important part in today^s modern railway.  While moving ahead with the 21st century, we also respect our heritage and today^s effort will help make this piece of history on Great Western accessible to the public.^

The Box Tunnel was the longest railway tunnel at the time of its completion in 1841 and was the final and largest engineering work on the Great Western.

It is said that Brunel had deliberately aligned the structure so that the rising sun is visible through it on his birthday every year.

Construction of the tunnel started in 1836 and the lives of about 100 'navvies' (railway construction workers) were lost during construction. Unlike the dramatic western portal, the eastern portal at Corsham has a plain brick face.

The western portal of Box Tunnel is designed in classical style, influenced by the architectural design of nearby Bath.
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2016, 02:14:34 AM »

Resurrecting an incredibly old topic here on the Coffee Shop forum (I really ought to get out a bit more!), may I now offer you this clip, from QI?

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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
Rob on the hill
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« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2017, 12:07:13 PM »

Apparently the sunrise was not visible through the entire length of Box Tunnel today, Brunel's 211th birthday.
http://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/did-brunel-design-the-box-tunnel-so-that-the-light-would-shine-through-at-sunrise-on-his-birthday/story-30258983-detail/story.html
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