Daylighting (tunnels)

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Daylighting a tunnel is to remove its "roof" or overlying rock and soil, thus exposing the railway or roadway to daylight. This could also be seen as converting the tunnel to a railway or roadway cut. Tunnels are often daylighted to improve vertical or horizontal clearances, for example to accommodate double-stack container trains or electrifying rail lines, where increasing the size of the tunnel bore would be impractical.

List of daylighted tunnels[edit]

  • New Zealand
    • The railway line through the Manawatu Gorge, when constructed in 1891, had five tunnels. Three of these were daylighted in 2008 to allow for the carriage of large containers (the other two tunnels had their floors lowered).[1]
  • United Kingdom
    • Lime Street Station in Liverpool was originally approached through a 1.13-mile (1.82 km) twin-track tunnel completed in 1836. The tunnel was daylighted in the 1880s, and replaced with a deep four-track cutting, with only the eastern 50 metres (55 yd) approaching Edge Hill railway station remaining as a tunnel.
The short remaining portion of Liverpool's Lime Street Station tunnel can be seen west of Edge Hill Station.


  1. ^ The Encyclopedia of New Zealand: Daylighting a Manawatū Gorge tunnel
  2. ^ F. C. Weeks et al., "Tunnel 'Daylighting' on the Alaska Railroad," Transportation Research Record No. 1119, Geotechnology (1987).

See also[edit]