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Historic turrets restored by rail company

The historic tunnel in Gisburn.
The historic tunnel in Gisburn.
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A Ribble Valley tunnel is being lovingly restored as part of the Great North Rail Project.

The grade II listed Gisburn tunnel in was reputedly built in 1876 to prevent horses from being scared by train noise and to preserve the view.

The castle-like structure sits on the iconic Ribble Valley line, an important route for freight trains carrying aggregate for construction.

Jack Ryder, scheme project manager at Network Rail, said: “The purpose of this job is to protect this economically important freight corridor. We’re repairing the tunnel’s ornamental ‘turrets’ by taking down sections and rebuilding them with the existing stone. We’re also repointing both portals with lime mortar.

“Our £100,000 upgrade will ensure this magnificent railway structure remains safe and retains its heritage appeal for decades to come.”

Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley, said: “What a tribute to Network Rail in restoring this historic and iconic Gisburn landmark. It has given pleasure to countless generations over 140 years and might easily have fallen into disrepair.

“The fact that Network Rail has directed resources and manpower into this project means that many more future generations will get to enjoy this structure which will now be assured.

“This is the 19th century shaking hands with the 21st century for perhaps centuries to come. Three cheers to the team from Network Rail for their TLC.”

Network Rail’s Team Orange started the work on January 15th and construction will be complete on February 23rd. There’s been no disruption to train services while this work is being carried out.

It’s claimed the bridge was originally built on the insistence of Lord Ribblesdale. Legend has it he was worried his horses would be frightened by the noise from the railway. It’s also understood he would not allow the railway to pass through the grounds of Gisburne Park unless it was built underground.

Apart from restoration work to the turrets and brickwork, this listed structure stands firmly in place and is in a good condition.