Sunday, February 27, 2011

Abandonment Issues: The Blue Ghost Tunnel

Blue Ghost Tunnel

The Blue Ghost Tunnel, also known at one time as
The Merritton Tunnel, The Great Western Railway Tunnel and The Grand Trunk Railway Tunnel, was constructed in the 1870's under the 3rd Welland Canal in St. Catharines, Ontario, and officially opened in April 1882. The tunnel is just over 730 feet long and is constructed of limestone, which was carried by train and wagon from the Queenston Quarry.

By the late 1800's, the Grand Trunk Railway was twinned and the tunnel was rarely used in favour of a new two track steel swing bridge built to the north, that is still in use to this day, although it is no longer a swing bridge.

On the second newest morning of January, 1903, a hundred yards from the tunnel's western entrance, two trains collided head on and two men lost their lives in a horrifically brutal fashion. Limbs separated from the mangled trapped mid-section of fresh corpses, on each train, as people attempted to rescue the disfigured men, stories say. It is believed by some that these men, as well as others that passed in the construction and use of these tunnels and canals, haunt the tunnel, hence its modern day name. The smoky waves of a photographer's breath is often captured in photographs with a blue hue in the cold damp tunnel, adding to the supernatural allure of The Blue Ghost.

In 1915, the last train passed through the limestone corridor, and the tunnel was abandoned. Reports indicate after the removal of the rail ties, the tunnel was used by local farmers throughout the 1900's to shepherd cattle from field A to B.

In the 1920's, a cemetery containing more than 600 unclaimed graves was drowned during the creation of what would become known as the 4th Welland Canal, they remain underwater to this day. Blue Ghosts.

In late February, 2011, as the sun set on a cold and bitter winter day, ninja IX and i sat down in the snow and slid down the icy slope to the tunnels entrance. And we excitedly entered the tunnel, after weeks of anticipation. Blue ghosts of breath haunted the camera lens in the cold blackness, so i had to hold my breath to shoot. The smell of smoke lingered in the air. Like it always does in tunnels, graffiti fades with the light, colourful vibrancy gives way to dark nothingness. Unfortunately, less than 200 feet in, we encountered a wall of icicles, the unexpected beginning of the end. At that moment, we were unprepared and unwilling to risk death by wall of icicles. We commented on the fact that we would be back in May before we turned around. The sun was gone as we exited the mouth of The Blue Ghost like a soft breath.

Blue Ghost Tunnel

Blue Ghost Tunnel

Blue Ghost Tunnel

the blue ghost

Blue Ghost Tunnel

Blue Ghost Tunnel

Blue Ghost Tunnel

Blue Ghost Tunnel

Blue Ghost Tunnel

Blue Ghost Tunnel

Blue Ghost Tunnel

Blue Ghost Tunnel

click here to check out all of jerm & ninja IX's ABANDONMENT ISSUES

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent! Check it out in late summer when the water isn't flowing so much.

Dan said...

Looks like a sick spot! Can't wait for you guys to come back!

Bob (Beauty in Ruins) said...

Great shots - my first time inside the tunnel was around this time of year, and that wall of icicle stalactites still gives me chills. We went on a whim, completely unprepared, with no lights, so we really had no idea what we'd seen in the camera flash until we checked out the photos later.

K Sisu said...

I never knew that this existed. Need to find it for my next trip back to Niagara