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Box Tunnel is one of Isambard Kingdom Brunels most impressive
engineering achievements on the Great Western Railway.
Located between Bath and Chippenham, it was dug through Box Hill,
and is one of the most significant structures
on the Great Western Main Line.
Whilst the Western Portal famous for its Grand Design, the Eastern Portal, at Corsham, has a more modest brick face with rusticated stone. When it was completed the two ends of the 2 mile long tunnel were joined underground and there was found to be less than 2 inches (51 mm) error in their alignment.
The village of Box in Wiltshire has a real railway history, residing in the countryside on the main line from Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington.
Box Tunnel sits between the beautiful Georgian City of Bath, with its 83 arch viaduct through the city, and the famous railway town of Swindon with its Railway Works in the past and its fine Railway Museum "Steam" today.
Box is also famous as the home of the creation of "Thomas the Tank Engine "
Thomas the fictional steam locomotive with a familiar face was originally created in The Railway Series Books by the Rev. W Awdry who lived in Box overlooking the Tunnel Entrance.
It is now well known, that the books originated because the Reverend could hear the steam Locomotives chuffing up the incline between the two tunnels in Box, (Middle Hill Tunnel and Box Tunnel), usually with a shunter as a banker, when pulling out from Box station and the engines often sounded like they were talking to each other, as they chuffed up the incline.
The Reverend told bedtime stories about the engines to his son Christopher, and he drew sketches of them with faces to bring them to life.
Thomas now has global recognition, and can be seen on TV, DVD, films, toys and games as well additional series of books now written by his son Christopher. The very first book, however, did not feature Thomas at all. It was named "The Three Railway Engines" featuring Edward, Gordon and Henry, and contained 4 short stories all with great morals, one of which tells the story of Henry wanting to stay in the tunnel !
Box or Middle Hill I wonder ?
Click below to go to my links page for information on the history of the famous Box Tunnel and Thomas the Tank Engine, and recent news on these topics.