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The Ballahoo Tunnels, more commonly known as "Henry's Tunnel", are a two-bore tunnel situated to the east of Ballahoo, on the Main Line.

History

The Railway Series

The Sodor and Mainland Railway originally attempted to cut a tunnel through the Ballahoo Ridge. However, it collapsed during construction, resulting in the railway only running trains between Ballahoo and Kirk Ronan.

After its foundation in 1915, the North Western Railway constructed its own tunnel in order to reach Vicarstown. The NWR was built as a strategic railway in a time of emergency. Speed and cheapness of construction were paramount, so a single line bore only was cut, with the Up and Down lines being gauntletted. While work was in progress, a section in the centre collapsed, leaving two tunnels (the Western - 1 mile, and the Eastern, or Henry’s - 450 yards).[1]

The tunnel gained its nickname in 1922 after Henry refused to come out, claiming that the rain would spoil his "lovely green paint with red stripes", and was subsequently bricked up after three failed attempts to get him out. A second bore was cut alongside to provide a double line and Henry was eventually let out sometime in 1923 to help with the express.[2] In 2011, the tunnel collapsed but was repaired in time for the unveiling of the Thin Clergyman's bust at Tidmouth.

Thomas & Friends

In the first series of the television series, Henry stopped in the tunnel and wouldn't come out (like in the Railway Series). In the fourth series, the tunnel was blocked by an elephant and Henry had to take some workmen to clear it. In the thirteenth series, while painted pink, James hid in the tunnel. In the nineteenth series, Thomas hid in the tunnel from the Fat Controller after lying about an accident.

Appearances

Trivia

  • In Wilbert Awdry's original drawing, the tunnel had one track instead of two.
  • In the first season of the TV Series, the tunnel seems to be just east of Knapford, standing in for the Tidmouth Tunnel, instead of west of Vicarstown, as it was in the Railway Series. The tunnel is in the correct location in the CGI series.
  • Henry's Tunnel has had numerous modifications throughout the years:
    • Series 1:
      • One tunnel bore had two tracks and the other bore had one track.
    • Series 4:
      • The numerous switch tracks and the siding disappeared.
      • The tunnel entrance brickwork becomes a darker colour.
    • Thomas and the Magic Railroad (only):
      • Both bores had two tracks and there was track on top.
    • Series 7:
      • A signal box and water tower had appeared and disappeared at the portal.
      • Each bore had one track, like its Railway Series counterpart.
    • Series 8:
      • Both bores had two tracks again.
    • Series 13:
      • The tunnel seemed to get shorter since its other end was visible.
      • The tracks became slightly curved on one end of the tunnel.
    • Blue Mountain Mystery (only):
      • The tunnel was seen in a flashback and it had one track in each bore.
    • The Adventure Begins:
      • Two switch tracks were added in front of the signal box.
    • The Great Race:
      • The track on top of the tunnel reappeared.

Merchandise

References