Readers seeking further information on the historical context to the modern estuary crossings are advised to consult the two sources from which most of the material in the previous chapters has been taken.
Stephen Jones generously invited the Trust to make use of relevant material from his book, “Links with Leviathans” the third volume of his trilogy; “Brunel in South Wales” now published by The History Press of Stroud, Gloucestershire. Chapter 4 of the book, entitled “Severn Gateway”, covers all aspects of early transport links across and around the lower Estuary in great detail and was an invaluable aid to the Trust in covering the story.
The essential source for a real understanding of the construction of the Severn Railway Tunnel was written by Thomas Walker, the contractor who assumed responsibility for the project in 1877. His comprehensive book entitled “The Severn Tunnel. Its construction and difficulties (1872-1887” was published in 1888. Facsimile editions by Kingsmead Press of Weston-super-Mare were published in 1969 and 1990. The website’s ‘page’ on the tunnel is based almost entirely on information obtained from that book.
In terms of engineering achievement, the 19th century railway tunnel beneath the Estuary undoubtedly ranks alongside the two great twentieth century bridges. However, with the passage of time and the virtual absence of any visible indication of its presence, its importance and stature can easily be forgotten or overlooked. To help restore the balance, a fairly lengthy coverage of its construction has been provided on the website to allow a wider public appreciate the scale of that achievement. The story deserves to be better known.
The First Road Crossing