Thousands of Fireflies Live in This Abandoned Train Tunnel

It looks as if thousands of green-blue glowing stars remain glued to the ceiling. A few years ago, a colony of fireflies settled in an abandoned train tunnel.

It is in the Australian state of New South Wales. The Helensburgh Glowworm Tunnel was born. It is famous as the Metropolitan Tunnel, the passage opened in 1889.

It is a symbolic photo of a firefly, not an image of the tunnel. Photo by Jerry Zhang on Unsplash

At 624 meters, it connected the town of Helensburgh, which is in the south of Sydney, with the local colliery. But as early as 1915, it became close to traffic again.

The flourishing coal mining made it necessary to move the railway line. The terrain deteriorated, the tunnel faced flood, and debris and vegetation blocked access.

Fireflies Illuminate The Disused Railway Tunnel

The authority did not restore the Lost Place until 1995. They covered the floor with gravel to reproduce a realistic tunnel. They also relocated parts of the original railway line.

They restored the remains of the original Helensburgh Station sign. In 2001 portions of the Metropolitan Tunnel reopened as a historic attraction.

After the restoration, unexpected things happened. Thousands upon thousands of fireflies moved to the ceiling of the tunnel. It is a large colony in all of New South Wales, without any doubt.

This unique natural spectacle made the tunnel a popular tourist attraction. Unfortunately, it often faces floods after heavy rainfall.

And then, a small waterfall falls at the tunnel entrance. It makes for great photos in front of the Lost Place, but it is not always safe to enter.

This Australian tunnel is famous for its haunted history. Its haunted story has made it popular among tourists. Many people from different parts of Australia visit this place.

Its glowworm population is another reason it is popular among people. There are many things to know about this place. It has a notable history.

The year of opening of this tunnel is 1 January 1889. It formed part of the town’s first railway station. Authority made the original station with two single-line tunnels.

One of these was the short Helensburgh Tunnel. It is 80 meters (88 yds) in length. Another was the Metropolitan Tunnel. It connects the local colliery to Helensburgh station.

Firefly Decline Due to Tourists

Over time, the fireflies’ popularity became a problem. During their hunt for the photo, visitors forgot how sensitive the fireflies are to light.

They ignore warnings not to light the tunnel roof and not to take photos with flash. Added to this was vandalism: graffiti is still appearing in the tunnel to this day. 

There is a lot of rubbish inside the tunnel. In 2019, the organization “Helensburgh Landcare” took action. They restricted access to the tunnel.

In February 2020, they pulled the emergency brake. They closed the tunnel to visitors. It should allow the firefly population to recover.

Rules of Conduct in the Helensburgh Glowworm Tunnel

The tunnel is now open to visitors again. But the community organization “Helensburgh Landcare” points out valuable rules of conduct. It is for the benefit of glowworms.

Visitors should be quiet in the tunnel. Light sources should only focus on the ground, and the visitors should turn off the flash on the camera at all costs.

No one should enter the tunnel with drones. Visitors should not smoke in the tunnel. They also should not try to repeal the insect.