Home World The incredible 400m abandoned railway tunnel that glows in the dark

The incredible 400m abandoned railway tunnel that glows in the dark

This disused railway tunnel is famous for its ability to glow in the dark and has been described as one of the most incredible glow worm sites in the world. 

One does not need to venture that far into the 400-metre tunnel to experience the constellation-like display. However, the further you move into the darkness, the better the view. 

The tunnel is so dark that a decent number of glow worms can be seen during daylight hours, but if you want to see a truly jaw-dropping display then the site should be visited at night. The glow worms begin before you even reach the tunnel entrance, lining the tracks leading to it. 

The Glow Worm Tunnel is a disused railway tunnel between Lithgow and Newnes, New South Wales, Australia. It is most known for its resident bioluminescent larvae of Arachnocampa richardsae, a type of fungus gnat. The larvae cling to the rocky walls of the tunnel and hunt with long, glowing strings of mucus. 

The 400-metre tunnel was bored through sandstone in 1907 as part of the Newnes network that serves the oil shale mines which operated in the early 20th-century. The railway, however, was closed in 1932 and the rails were removed. In 2001, the was awarded a grant to be transformed into a historical attraction. 

The tunnel is now part of the Wollemi National Park and is a popular attraction for bushwalkers and tourists. 

The tunnel was shut for many years after the colony was destroyed through visitors setting off flares among other thoughtless activities. The population, however, has now returned. While a torch is needed to navigate the tunnel, turn this off to have the best view of the glow worms, or bring a red light torch. 

The tunnel is always damp and muddy, especially after heavy rain, which can lead to flooding. Be sure to wear shoes and trousers that you don’t mind getting completely soaked. 

Outside the tunnel, the area features spectacular gorges, caves and scenery. The tunnel is located in the suburb of Helensburgh, about a one-hour drive from Sydney. 

Construction is underway to upgrade the track inside Glow Worm tunnel as well as surrounding tracks, the car park and new toilets. The upgrades are planned in stages to allow visitors access during popular periods. 

The tunnel has also become a popular attraction for those seeking to meet with the paranormal. These supernatural encounters are said to be related to the death of Robert Hails, who died in June 1895 after he was run over and split in two by a train whilst trying the pass through the tunnel on foot. It is unknown in which of the seven tunnels on the line the accident occured. The local legend says that one can hear Hails’ footsteps as he tries to outrun the trains. 

Reviews on Tripadvisor validate the beauty of the tunnel, with one describing the ceiling as looking “like the Milky Way shining with worms”, with another calling it “a stargazing experience. A long unpaved road, but absolutely worth the effort.”


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