Rhondda Tunnel Society is a Registered Charity in England and Wales. Charity Registration Number: 1162646
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The history of the Rhondda Tunnel
Engineered by Sydney William Yockney, the Rhondda Tunnel is the longest disused tunnel in Wales at 3,443 yards. An amazing feat of engineering for its time and a major artery in the years of steam, it was constructed to link the coalfields of the upper Rhondda Valley with the docks at Swansea.
Construction was carried out from both ends, taking five years to bore from June 1885 to 2nd July 1890. It features a single 58-foot ventilation shaft around 105 yards from its western end. The Rhondda Tunnel is almost 1,000 feet below ground at its deepest point.
Underground springs ensured that the Rhondda Tunnel was very wet in places; this was channelled away via a drainage system. Coal working caused the lining to bulge and a series of reinforcement ribs were erected in 1938. Eleven years later, an inspection found the tunnel to be in excellent condition except for two sections where distortion was severe. More ribs were installed.
Further deterioration resulted in the tunnel being closed 'temporarily' on safety grounds in 1968, though it never reopened - the cost of repairs being prohibitive.
Following years of disuse, both of the Rhondda Tunnel's portals were finally covered over and landscaped.
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