Brasenose Road Tunnel

Brasenose Road Tunnel was constructed nearly 140 years ago, forming part of the Bankfield Goods Branch, to connect with the Bankfield Goods Depot.

Brasenose Road Tunnel

Location: West Kirkdale, Liverpool

Status: Seeking planning permission for work from Liverpool City Council



The Bankfield Goods Branch Line was part of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (L&Y) a major British railway company before the 1923 grouping. It was incorporated in 1847 from an amalgamation of several existing railways. and was the third-largest railway system based in northern England (after the Midland and North Eastern Railways). 

Corner of Bankfield Goods Depot 1963 freighters using Canada dock can be seen in the in background. Copyright JA Sommerfield

(Corner of Bankfield Goods Depot 1963 freighters using Canada dock can be seen in the in background. Copyright JA Sommerfield)

The Branch was built by the L&Y to connect the Bankfield Goods Depot with the L&Y railway. Running from Bootle Oriel Road on the Southport Line, it ran steeply down through close packed terraced housing, and then under the Leeds and Liverpool Canal to the Depot.  

Several properties had to be demolished to facilitate its construction. All the three tunnels on the branch were constructed by cut and cover techniques, and Brasenose Road was the middle of the three. There’s little information available on its construction, however it’s understood that it took three years to build.  

Active railway years 

The port facilities were also expanded after the construction of the Bankfield Goods railway branch. In the early twentieth century, two million tons of Lancashire coal were being exported every year through Canada Dock.   

However, through the 1950s and early 1960s, the amount of coal exported through Liverpool fell away drastically and the Bankfield Goods Branch closed on the 4 January 1965. 

Map showing the Yorkshire and Lancashire Railway

(Map showing the Yorkshire and Lancashire Railway) 

Railway closure 

The tunnel was infilled following the closure of the railway branch, as were a number of other structures along the line. They include Derby Road bridge, Forth Street bridge, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal tunnel and St John’s Road tunnel.  

About the structure

We took over management of the HRE and the tunnel in 2013. Due to there being no safe means of examining the tunnel, due to the cuttings either end of the tunnel being infilled, we carried out a laser survey in 2020 from a core hole opened from the road above.

Laser survey scan inside tunnel show a void within the tunnel

(Laser survey scan inside tunnel show a void within the tunnel)

The results showed extensive voiding measuring 1,425m3 in volume, equating to approximately 45% of the original tunnel volume.  

To prevent further deterioration occurring and to remove the associated risk of structural collapse, we’ve proposed infilling of the tunnel.  

What is the project?

Completion of infill in the tunnel where a void remains.   

What stage is it at?

Following full Stakeholder Advisory Forum (SAF) discussion the Secretary of State for Transport has approved our recommendation to seek planning permission to complete the infilling of the tunnel.   

We’ll submit an application to Liverpool City Council in due course.   

We’re in discussion with all relevant stakeholders about our proposal and will regularly update this page when we have further information to share.