Canals & Waterways

Tunnels

Yes, canal builders found it occasionally necessary to build tunnels. Some had towpaths and some didn't. In the old days, boats were "legged" through tunnels without towpaths. One method was to lie on the roof of the boat and push against the tunnel ceiling.


The longest U.K. tunnel of all:
Standedge Tunnel on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal- 3.24 miles (5.21 km) long. Reopened in 2001
The second longest U.K. tunnel that's still open:
Dudley Tunnel on the Dudley No. 1 Canal- 1.80 miles (2.90 km) long. Image of tunnel entrance.
Martin Clark has provided a more detail and extensive list of the Longest Canal Tunnels in England
 
The longest(?) tunnel in continental Europe:
The longest canal tunnel in the USA:
The Paw-Paw Tunnel on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. 0.59 miles (.95 km) long. (Tunnel closed to boats. Walk towpath only.)
Detailed and extensive list of The World's longest Navigation Canal Tunnels
 
The most amusing tunnel sign (U.K.):
"IMPORTANT NOTICE: Due to operational constraints and the need for economy, Management regret to announce that the light at the end of the tunnel has been switched off".
...and a quote passed on by Bill Davies, original source unknown:
"A pessimist is someone who believes that the light at the end of the tunnel is another, on-coming, boat."

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Text, graphics, and photos Copyright © 1995-2007 by George Pearson.
Last Modified: Thursday, 13-Sep-07 9:00 pm EDT