By Harry Mottram: The Weston Mercury’s Amber Hill (pictured) has given more details of the lights in Shute Shelve Tunnel in a piece on the newspaper’s website.
She wrote: “The lighting upgrade was carried out by Centregeat on the council’s behalf. This work was funded by Bristol Water as part of planning conditions for when the company used the tunnel as part of their Southern Resilience Scheme.”
She also confirmed that the lights would be switched off at night so as not to disturb the bats that roost in the former railway tunnel.
The lighting is the work or a number of groups. Centregeat is a privately-owned company based in South Wales and have been supporting critical infrastructure since the 1970s. Their work includes traffic signals, public street lighting and engineering work. Bristol Water who operate Cheddar Reservoir ran their pipe line through the tunnel and have paid for the initial work while North Somerset Council have undertaken maintenance work.
Shute Shelve tunnel is 165 metres long and was designed by Chief Engineer, Francis Fox of the Cheddar Valley and Yatton Railway in 1859 linking Wells to Yatton although the entire line took another ten years to be completely open. It closed to passengers in 1963 and to goods in 1964.
The north half of the tunnel is brick lined, but about midway it reverts to unlined rock for the southern half, marking a change in the underlying geology from sandstone to limestone.
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