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Entrance to the tunnel
|Official name||Tunnel No 2|
|Line||Newnes railway line|
|Operator||Commonwealth Oil Corporation|
|Length||20 chains (1,320.0 ft; 402.3 m)|
|No. of tracks||single|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
The Glowworm Tunnel is a disused railway tunnel between Lithgow, New South Wales and Newnes, New South Wales, Australia. It is notable for its resident glow-worms, the bioluminescent larvae of Arachnocampa richardsae, a type of fungus gnat.
Description and history
The 20 chains (1,320.0 ft; 402.3 m) tunnel was bored through the sandstone in 1907 as part of the Newnes railway line that served the Newnes oil shale mines that operated during the early 20th century. The railway was closed in 1932 and the rails were pulled out of the tunnel.
The tunnel is now contained within the Wollemi National Park and is a popular attraction for bushwalkers and tourists. Outside the tunnel, the area features spectacular gorges, caves and scenery. The site is maintained by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. On the south side of the tunnel, a large gap in the road prevents vehicular access. According to some sources, this gap was created deliberately to keep cars out of the tunnel, because the exhaust fumes would have killed the glow-worms. On the north side of the tunnel, a track leads to Newnes.
Access to the tunnel is via several routes:
- 11 km walk each way: Walk along the route of the old railway line from Newnes
- 9 km return walk: Drive to the weir over the Wolgan River 7 km before Newnes. Walk up the nearby fire trail to the railway line to the right
- Walk or cycle in from Newnes State forest
- Drive from Lithgow or Clarence (both roads eventually join up), about 25 km along good unsealed road, and walk 1 km to the tunnel. (note: drive through first tunnel and park at the end of Glowworm Tunnel Road).
- Langdon, Mark; Oliver, Dean, (illustrator.); Johnson, Roger, (illustrator.); Dunn, Ian, (researcher.); Gallagher, Bob, (researcher.); Matthews, Richard, (researcher.) (2017). Shale & Shays : The Fight for Shale Oil from the Wolgan Valley. Eveleigh Press. ISBN 978-1-876568-74-0.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
- "The Wolgan Valley Railway". Info Blue Mountains Australia. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
- Newnes Line - NSWrail.net
- Deane, Henry (2004). The Wolgan Valley Railway - Its Construction. Australian Railway Historical Society, New South Wales Division. ISBN 0-909650-61-6.
- Eardley, G H; Stephens, E M (2015). The shale railways of New South Wales. Australian Railway Historical Society New South Wales Division. ISBN 978-0-9807721-8-0.
- Hicks, George; O'Brien, Dennis (1999). Shays in the Valley. New South Wales Rail Transport Museum. ISBN 0-909862-50-8.
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