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Owners want to abandon the tunnel - but cycle groups say it could be centrepiece of cycle network

Campaigners have released a film of what a cycle path running through a disused tunnel could be like, as they push for a network connecting Halifax to Bradford and Keighley.

The Queensbury Tunnel Society want to re-open the tunnel as a cycle path - in direct opposition to plans by Highways England’s Historical Railways Estate.

The Historical Railways Estate, which currently has custody of the tunnel, wants to spend £3m making the unsafe tunnel officially abandoned.

Work would include inserting concrete plugs in both entrances and backfilling its ventilation shafts.

But the Queensbury Tunnel Society says the 1.4 mile tunnel could be restored and become an asset to the community.

Lasting six minutes, the film offers a sense of what the former railway structure would look and feel like if the repair programme was implemented.

Development of the film involved building a 3D model of Queensbury Tunnel, accurately to scale, and then plotting a course through it at a realistic pace for a cyclist. To create the final version, more than 9,000 images then had to be rendered, each one taking between four and ten minutes.

All the tunnel’s main features are shown over the course of the journey, including its five ventilation shafts, two sets of steel arches and an old track panel left by the salvage crew in 1963. Restored to its former position is a gong which was part of the railway’s signalling equipment.

Each of the Society’s proposed repairs is indicated; amongst these are two in-situ concrete arches where partial collapses have occurred. And below No.2 shaft is an art installation powered by the huge volume of water that pours down it.

Norah McWilliam, who leads the Queensbury Tunnel Society, said: “For the past three years we’ve been promoting a vision of what the tunnel could be like if restored, but without people really being able to visualise it. Now they can. They get a real appreciation of the tunnel’s length, see the shafts and refuges, gauge the extent of the repair work and its impact on the original structure. They can also understand the tunnel’s potential as a space, perhaps as the world’s longest sculpture park!

“Sadly the current direction of travel is towards abandonment. We believe that’s the wrong direction because it involves wasting £3 million of public money. Nobody gets any value from it. What we are offering is a positive picture of what that money can do. Economically, the tunnel could help to revitalise the district’s fortunes, without even considering the health, leisure and connectivity benefits that would come with a cycle path network.

“We urge Bradford Council to seize this opportunity. If it’s serious in its stated ambition to make cycling ‘a natural part of everyone’s daily life’, high-quality infrastructure has to be provided to get people off the roads. We will work constructively and collaboratively with the Council in achieving that goal. This film is a clear demonstration of the time and energy we’re ready to invest.”

 

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

14 comments

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kevvjj [285 posts] 4 months ago
5 likes
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ChasP [22 posts] 4 months ago
3 likes

Signed

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turnerjohn [46 posts] 3 months ago
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Signed....good luck !

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john1967 [38 posts] 3 months ago
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Only a total idiot would want to block up that tunnel. I bet those dullards would like to stick a bronze statue of Dr.Beeching on top. Total numptys.

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Uphillstruggler [1 post] 3 months ago
2 likes

Have they not seen two tunnels in bath?

 

Let's hope they open their eyes to possibilities of these wonderful heirlooms from an industrial past.

 

I'd have a weekend in the area if I knew about these places, surely opening these sites to people from outside the area would help pay for the working the long run?

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mpdouglas [30 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

We used to be such a great country that did pioneering things. We're now run by cretins who can't see beyond the end of their noses!!one trip to San Reno would show these dullards how you can turn an old railway tunnel into the centrepiece of a cycling infrastructure:

 

http://road.cc/content/news/114664-eddy-merckx-opens-milano-sanremo-gallery-disused-railway-tunnel-videos

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mpdouglas [30 posts] 3 months ago
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We used to be such a great country that did pioneering things. We're now run by cretins who can't see beyond the end of their noses!!one trip to San Reno would show these dullards how you can turn an old railway tunnel into the centrepiece of a cycling infrastructure:

 

http://road.cc/content/news/114664-eddy-merckx-opens-milano-sanremo-gallery-disused-railway-tunnel-videos

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rogermerriman [132 posts] 3 months ago
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Sadly it does seem to have some problems to solve.

The first being a use for it, in that it needs to be connected, so can people can use it, and the related question is will it get used? clearly some cycle routes are well used others not so much. ie build it and they will come sadly only works if there is a need or want to use the route, though it's worth noting that Queensbury (that the tunnel bypasses) would be hurdle to cyclists ie steep.

It is has some intensive works to be done, and having always been wet, I suspect that it if completed would need on going maintenance, with a eye to expected use/value to who ever took the tunnel on.

 

I do wish them luck since it's a intresting bit of history but I think they will need it!

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San Remo [1 post] 3 months ago
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+1 for mpdouglas comments. I am fortunate to live in Sanremo and can say that the recalimed tunnels and track form a fantastic path many kms long, even used for the first stage of the 2015 Giro. Hugely popular all year round by many different types of use. Imaginative, well conceived and mostly well maintained. 

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handlebarcam [1059 posts] 3 months ago
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Having the support of locals and cyclists nationwide probably won't be enough. What they need is one or more of the big construction companies, which also happen to be major political donors, to take an interest. Sadly, there probably isn't enough profit in it for them for, while making a partially-collapsed Victorian tunnel is undoubtedly more complicated than this video makes out, the total cost is likely less than the budget for tea and biscuits on HS2.

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alansmurphy [1161 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Don't think Strava would work down there. Fail.

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Yorkshire wallet [1559 posts] 3 months ago
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alansmurphy wrote:

Don't think Strava would work down there. Fail.

 

Mugging and bike theft probably would. 

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Peowpeowpeowlasers [545 posts] 3 months ago
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Outwood Viaduct in Radcliffe had been closed and abandoned for about 30 years, with British Rail wanting to pull it down for good.  They didn't want to spend the money.

https://goo.gl/maps/V5EsMo7K1qJ2

Thankfully, cleverer heads prevailed and it now forms an extremely valuable part of a very nice nature trail and cycle route.

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HV3 [15 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Signed, and passed onto several others.

Let's hope we see some integrated thinking from government combined with a long term view on public health, for a change!