The Fritchley Tunnel is the world’s oldest surviving railway tunnel.
When the Butterley Gangroad was built in 1793 the line started the downhill descent from the mine (later opened up into a quarry) at Crich and ended at the Amber Wharf on the Cromford canal at Bullbridge after passing through Fritchley village. Here it passed under a road junction by means of a short tunnel about 90 feet long. The tunnel was constructed using the “cut and cover” method. A deep trench was dug, walls were built directly on the earth on either side, a former was put in place and an arch created over it. The ground was then restored above the arch. When the re-alignment of the line was undertaken in the 1850s the southern end of the tunnel was rebuilt using larger stones and a wider cross-section. the joint between the two areas of stomework was roughly made and had to be strengthened later by means of a blue brick buttress, partly due to the weight of the building above.