Fritchley Tunnel is a railway tunnel at Fritchley in Derbyshire, England. The tunnel was constructed in 1793 by Benjamin Outram as part of the Butterley Gangroad, altered in the 1840s, and remained in use until the railway closed in 1933.
The Butterley Gangroad line was built to allow horse-drawn wagons, carrying limestone to the Cromford Canal from quarries near Crich village, to pass under a road junction in Fritchley. The gangroad would originally have been constructed as a plateway, an early type of railway with cast-iron rails that were secured to stone sleeper blocks with wrought-iron spikes.
The tunnel is built of sandstone blocks with vertical sides and a round-arched roof, measuring 22.58 meters and 3.05 meters high. Though modest, it is highly significant: Benjamin Outram played a hugely influential part in the development of railways. He was one of the first to recognize their potential in the creation of a nationwide transport system and to advocate common standards to ensure that different sections of the lines could operate together.
The railway closed in 1933, and by 1989 both ends of the tunnel had been buried, making it inaccessible until archaeologists exposed and recorded it in 2013. Today, the Butterley Gangroad line has much to celebrate: as well as the official confirmation that the railway tunnel is the oldest surviving in the world, the line itself is also one of the world's oldest and one of the first on which a steam locomotive successfully operated.
According to Wikipedia; historicengland