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Redbank Range Railway Tunnel was opened in February 1867 and is the first railway tunnel to be used by the NSW Railways. It was eventually closed to rail in 1919 when the new deviation line opened. During World War II it was one of a number of disused railway tunnels used to store ammunition and other military supplies. The 592ft long tunnel was also used for commercial mushroom growing after 1950 when the RAAF moved out.

Most commonly known as the Picton or Mushroom Tunnel, it is the subject of many ghostly and supernatural tales. Strange glowing lights have been seen floating through and around the tunnel. Rapid drops in temperature and sudden breezes like those caused by an approaching train have been felt. The ghost of woman named Emily Bollard who was struck and killed by a train in 1916 is said to haunt the tunnel.

There are several things to keep in mind when exploring the tunnel. Once all torches are off it is very dark and your eyes will have a difficult time adjusting. Many people believe that the movement of light and dark shapes they see is something paranormal. Be sure to sit well inside the tunnel as turning your head may change the light conditions and cause your eyes to lose focus. Since there has been activity reported at both ends it shouldn't matter where you sit or which way you face.

Myself and other members of the Paranormal Australia Team participated in a Picton Tunnel Watch held by local historian Liz Vincent in June 2001. Although there have been many reports of paranormal activity from credible sources, we were not fortunate enough to experience or see anything unusual enough to definitely classify as paranormal. We did see dark shapes moving at the opposite end of the tunnel but believe that was only our eyes adjusting. There was also a series of bright flashing lights over the course of the night. We cannot say for sure what these lights were and without an in depth night and day investigation of the area are unwilling to speculate at this stage.

Click here for information on Liz Vincent's Picton Ghost Hunts & Tunnel Watches.
What felt like a massive drop in temperature at one point did spark our interest, however. Although the night was already rather chilly, this bitter and eerie cold seemed to descend upon our group very suddenly. A few people who had wandered down towards the opposite end of the tunnel yelled out that they could see someone standing behind us. People sitting behind us believed they could see someone walking towards us. I saw nothing in front of or behind us but to tell the truth, it was so dark there could have been someone a foot in front of me and I would not have known. That's a very creepy feeling!

Car lights interrupted our excitement as someone pulled up outside the tunnel, obviously not expecting a group of enthusiastic ghosthunters. The temperature seemed to magically return to normal and we all commented on what a noticeable difference it was. As the car backed out and drove away were once again plunged into darkness. Within seconds the freezing cold had returned and this time we all paid very close attention to the temperature drop. Without the correct equipment I cannot say if there was indeed a drop and of how much, but I do intend on going back to the tunnel better prepared next time.

I do recall one very strange thing that happened. As I turned onto the dirt road that led to the tunnel I could hear a weird noise. At first I thought it was coming from one of the other cars in our little convoy. I soon realized that the sounds were coming from inside the car. My friend's camera that was in a bag at her feet suddenly and for no obvious reason began to rewind it's film midroll. The camera was not switched on at the time and has never done anything like this before. To this day we still wonder what caused the camera she intended to use in the tunnel to act so strangely and have failed to come up with a logical explanation.

PLEASE NOTE: The Redbank Range Railway Tunnel is located on private property. Police patrol the area regularly and anyone found trespassing will be asked to leave and may even be charged.

You can only access the tunnel legally through Liz Vincent's Picton Ghost Hunts or Tunnel Watches.



- Lani


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