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Harbury Cutting and Tunnel

GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Harbury Tunnel and adjacent structures

A view of the cutting being widened to remove the problem of land slippage
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N Briggs courtesy Warwick Museum
A view of the cutting being widened to remove the problem of land slippage
Close up showing GWR 0-6-0 No 311 being utlised to haul spoil during the widening of Harbury cutting
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N Briggs courtesy Warwick Museum
Close up showing GWR 0-6-0 No 311 being utlised to haul spoil during the widening of Harbury cutting
View of the northern brick portal showing the line snaking through the short tunnel
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J Alsop
View of the northern brick portal showing the line snaking through the short tunnel
Ex-Great Western No 8100, a large 2-6-2T prairie tank engine in unlined black British Railways livery travelling south
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Adrian Vaughan
Looking through the mouth of the 73 yard Harbury Tunnel viewed from the western (Leamington Spa) end
View of the three-arch bridge being repaired near Harbury tunnel during September 1907
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J Alsop
View of the three-arch bridge being repaired near Harbury tunnel during September 1907

This graceful three arch brick bridge across the Harbury Cutting was built to provide access from Bull Ring Farm to  Harbury village
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Adrian Vaughan
This graceful three arch brick bridge across the Harbury Cutting was built to provide access from Bull Ring Farm to Harbury village

Locomotives seen at or near Harbury tunnel

GWR 4-6-0 No 5076 'Gladiator' is seen approaching Harbury Tunnel on an up express
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G Coltas
GWR 4-6-0 No 5076 'Gladiator' is seen approaching Harbury Tunnel on an up express
GWR 4-6-0 No 6024 'King Edward I' at the head of an express leaving Harbury Tunnel
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G Coltas
GWR 4-6-0 No 6024 'King Edward I' at the head of an express leaving Harbury Tunnel
Great Western Railway 4-6-0 60xx ‘King’ class No 6007 ‘King William III’ with a twelve coach southbound express train in Whitnash Cutting
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Colour Rail
Great Western Railway 4-6-0 60xx ‘King’ class No 6007 ‘King William III’ with a twelve coach southbound express train in Whitnash Cutting
GWR 4-6-0 No 6024 'King Edward I' at the head of an express leaving Harbury Tunnel
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P Colebourn Collection
GWR 2-8-0 No 2834 hauling a class H unfitted through freight train of Iron Ore empties in Whitnash Cutting
GWR 4-6-0 No 6024 'King Edward I' at the head of an express leaving Harbury Tunnel
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B Hicks
Ex Great Western Railway 4-6-0 49XX 'Hall' class No 6937 'Conyngham Hall' with a north bound down excursion train

Ex-Great Western No 8100, a large 2-6-2T prairie tank engine in unlined black British Railways livery travelling south
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TE Willaims
Ex-Great Western No 8100, a large 2-6-2T prairie tank engine in unlined black British Railways livery travelling south
Ex-Great Western No 4997 'Elton Hall' storms through the imposing southern brick portal of Harbury tunnel
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TE Willaims
Ex-Great Western No 4997 'Elton Hall' storms through the imposing southern brick portal of Harbury tunnel
Ex-Great Western No 4707 a 2-8-0 47xx class heavy freight locomotive effortlessly heading down towards Leamington
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TE Willaims
Ex-Great Western No 4707 a 2-8-0 heavy freight locomotive effortlessly heads towards Leamington
BR Standard Class 9F 2-10-0 No 92219 burst from Harbury tunnel on a mid morning southbound train of empty ore wagons
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RS Siviter
BR Class 9F 2-10-0 No 92219 burst from Harbury tunnel on a mid morning southbound train of empty ore wagons
BR Class 9F 2-10-0 No 92090 approaches the southern end of Harbury tunnel on a down mineral train on 18th July 1966
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RS Siviter
BR Class 9F 2-10-0 No 92090 approaches the southern end of Harbury tunnel on a down train on 18th July 1966

An unidentified ex-GWR 4-6-0 King Class locomotive approaches Harbury Tunnel with a down express service
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K Cribb
An unidentified ex-GWR 4-6-0 King Class locomotive approaches Harbury Tunnel with a down express service
An unidentified ex-LMS 2-8-0 8F locomotive approaches Harbury Tunnel on 9th February 1952
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KH Cribb
An unidentified ex-LMS 2-8-0 8F locomotive approaches Harbury Tunnel on 9th February 1952
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 No 6008 'King James II' approaches the East end of Harbury tunnel on 9th February 1952
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KH Cribb
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 No 6008 'King James II' approaches the East end of Harbury tunnel on 9th February 1952
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 No 6008 'King James II' emeges from the West end of Harbury tunnel on 9th February 1952
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KH Cribb
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 No 6008 'King James II' emeges from the West end of Harbury tunnel on 9th February 1952
Another ex-GWR 4-6-0 Hall Class locomotive approaches Harbury tunnel on 9th February 1952
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KH Cribb
Another ex-GWR 4-6-0 Hall Class locomotive approaches Harbury tunnel on 9th February 1952

An unidentified ex-GWR Hall Class locomotive approaches the West end of Harbury Tunnel on 9th February 1952
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KH Cribb
An unidentified ex-GWR Hall Class locomotive approaches the West end of Harbury Tunnel on 9th February 1952
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 Hall Class No 4987 'Brockley Hall' is seen near Harbury on an express service on 9th February 1952
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KH Cribb
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 Hall Class No 4987 'Brockley Hall' is seen near Harbury on an express service on 9th February 1952
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 Castle Class No 5034 'Corfe Castle' is seen near Harbury on an express service on 9th February 1952
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KH Cribb
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 Castle Class No 5034 'Corfe Castle' is seen near Harbury on an express service on 9th February 1952

SUICIDE OF A SCHOOLMASTER – HM 154 JULY 13th 1895

A sad case of suicide took place at Harbury, on Monday evening, when Mr Charles Henry Savage, the village schoolmaster, aged 33, in a state of mental depression, threw himself in front of the eight o'clock passenger train to Leamington, near the Harbury tunnel.

Some three years’ ago the deceased figured as the defendant in a local breach of promise suit, and it is believed that the public annoyance which he sustained in consequence of the proceedings, gradually affected his mind, the state of which some few months ago necessitated his taking a three month vacation. He was much respected in the neighbourhood, and had been in Harbury for many years, but was a native of Redditch, where the funeral takes place. The inquest was held at Harbury, on Wednesday, before Mr DR Wynter (Coroner for Central Warwickshire) — Beatrice Dewitt stated that deceased had lodged at her house for the past seven years. She last saw him alive at about 7.30 on Monday evening. When he came out into the garden to her he said he would go for a short stroll, as was his custom, unless he played cricket or tennis. As the deceased was rather later than usual in returning, this witness made enquiries of a man named Wilkins, who said the deceased was on the line near the tunnel. The witness, on hearing this, said it was quite unusual for him to be there, and asked Wilkins to tell him she wished to see him. Wilkins did so, but the deceased told him he would come home presently. Shortly afterwards a train approached, and almost at the same instant she saw Wilkins throw up his arms and shout, "He's done it! Oh, he's done it!".

The deceased had frequently complained of bad pains in his head, but went about his duties at the school alright. – Tom Wilkins, platelayer, Harbury, stated he was at work in his garden on the top of Harbury tunnel on Monday evening. He saw the deceased coming from under the tunnel on the down side of the line, and at the request of the last witness he went down to the deceased. They wished each other good evening. The witness told the deceased he was wanted. The deceased said he should go a little higher up the line. The witness went back to garden, when he observed a passenger train approaching about a quarter of a mile off, and saw deceased jump from under a wall either in front of the train or into one side of it and roll over. The witness called to some one near to run for the doctor, and Dr. Pirie got to the deceased just before witness. A man named Young also assisted and they got deceased up the bank to his lodgings. Deceased was alive and breathing, but died about half-an-hour afterwards. His head was badly cut, and the right arm badly injured. – PC Collet, stationed at Harbury, deposed to assisting to get the deceased home, and produced a note in the deceased's handwriting as follows: "I am quite tired of life, and to me it's not worth living. Months of great mental depression, religious mania, and past troubles have quite shattered my health. I thank Mrs Linklater for past kindnesses and I thank my other friends in the parish. I leave £50 for the school, £25 for the church, and £10 for Mrs Dewitt, everything else will go to my brother. God bless my dear father and mother, and may we meet in Heaven as I hope we shall. — C.H. Savage. Lord forgive us our trespasses as I freely forgive all those who have trespassed against me and brought me to this." — After a brief summing up, the jury returned a verdict that the deceased committed suicide of unsound mind.

Courtesy www.harburyheritage.org.uk