St Margaret's Head Tunnel

An abandoned and sealed railway tunnel in the S of Fife, St. Margaret's Head Tunnel lies a quarter-mile (0.4 km) northwest of North Queensferry. The tunnel was 420m (1378 feet) in length, 4.3m (14 feet) wide and 5.1m (16¾ feet) high but all that is now visible is its blocked-up southern entrance. The brick-lined tunnel opened with the Dunfermline and Queensferry Railway in 1877, serving a pier at North Queensferry where railway passengers and freight crossed the Firth of Forth. However this crossing was not as popular as the route from Granton to Burntisland, and was superseded when the Forth Bridge opened in 1890. The branch was still used to transport coal until 1954. The northern approach roads to the Forth Road Bridge were built 15m (50 feet) above the tunnel in the 1960s but concerns over its strength following earthworks associated with the construction of the Queensferry Crossing brought about its infilling in 2017-18. The portals had been sealed many years previously, so access was only possible through vertical ventilation shafts. Some 21,342 high-density polystyrene blocks were shaped and packed into the tunnel and concrete was poured in from above, ensuring it was sealed. This solution does leave the possibility of it being reopened in the future should it ever be required.

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