Tunnels on the Illawarra line in and around the Helensburgh area late 1880′s:
No.1 tunnel – Waterfall tunnel 221m (Daylighted – demolished during Duplication)
No.2 tunnel – Cawley tunnel 381m
No.3 tunnel – Helensburgh tunnel 80m
No.4 tunnel – Metropolitan tunne) 624m
No.5 tunnel – Lilyvale No.1 tunnel 80m
No.6 tunnel – Lilyvale No.2 tunnel 322m
No.7 tunnel – Otford tunnel 1550m
No.8 tunnel – Clifton tunnel 1000m (still in use)

1st Helensburgh Railway Station

Helensburgh’s first Railway Station (part of which still exists today). Metropolitan Tunnel in the background.
State Records NSW – Photographic Collection.
No known copyright restrictions. (The Commons)
Rail Line: Illawarra
Tunnel #: 4
Length: 624m
Style: Single Track
Grade: 1 in 55
Opened: 3rd October 1888
Closed: 30th May 1915
Notes: The Southern (Metropolitan Colliery) end has been blocked so the tunnel is filled with water (the level varies with rain). Only tunnel on this line with glowworms (the others where all used for mushroom farming).

“Early 1995 saw the clearing and removal of rubbish out of cutting to the northern portal as the Colliery had plans to use the tunnel as a water reservoir.  When the tunnel was drained… rail enthusiasts, local historians, and contractors from the Metropolitan Colliery … discovered … part of the Helensburgh 1st Railway Station … in situ and intact.”

Attendees: Alan & Megan, David & Mathew, Scott, Alex and I

Alan mentioned this tunnel to me some time ago, and with the recent rain it seemed like a good opportunity to organise a lilo/airbedding trip.

Originally planned for Sunday night, it was after work on Mon that we all met up. It was well after 6 by the time everyone had arrived and was organised.

The attraction to this tunnel was not only the water (the tunnel is blocked at one end) but also the magnificent glow-worm display – probably the best I have seen in Australia!

Apparently a glowworm colony is unique to this tunnel on the South Coast line as it was the only only tunnel not used for mushroom farming.

We got as far as a rusty pipe protruding from the right wall.

Here is a short video Megan put together:

References/Further Reading:

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