Okay, so I actually visited the Swan View Railway Tunnel a couple of months ago but seeing as though I have the photos and the information and even an ‘Historical Places’ category, I simply couldn’t resist writing about it!
It’s a place that’s virtually unknown to many people (well…it seems to be unknown to most of my friends anyway) and I suppose it would’ve been completely unknown to me too if it wasn’t for my Grandparents. Out of all the times I’d visited the tunnel the majority were with my Grandma and Grandpa. I suppose it became a bit of a tradition for us.
The walk takes place along the old Eastern Railway line and you follow the very gravelly road (there are no actual train tracks anymore) whilst being surrounded by the John Forrest National Park.
Continuing along the tunnel path, all the while surrounded by granite rock, you will eventually meet the tunnel entrance. It never ceases to amaze me. Out of the brightness of the day looms this inky black hole which threatens to engulf you. Of course, you walk in willingly.
Now for a bit of history. The tunnel was designed by C.Y. O’Connor and work on it commenced in 1894 and was completed in 1895 at a cost of £12,000. During its construction, workmen lived in tents by the tunnel and would work for 24 hours a day (except Sundays) to ensure that the tunnel was completed within the specified time. The 340 metre long tunnel was lined inside with masonary walls and a brick roof to prevent rock falls.
Walking carefully through the pitch black tunnel you will notice the many crevices that are built into the walls. These crevices allowed workmen some protection to get out of the way as the train rolled by. Unfortunately though, the poor ventilation in the tunnel meant that some men suffocated from the smoke and fumes.
The tunnel walk seems like it might just last forever but eventually you do reach the end. It’s probably the only time where you can literally see the light at the end of the tunnel (pardon the pun – I couldn’t resist!).
For more detailed information on the history of the tunnel, please check out: http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/parks-and-recreation/key-attractions/swan-view-tunnel.html