2018 IN THE PRESS

Wales OnLine 29th. May 2018
New Civil Engineer 21st. August 2018
Earth Science Partnership 17th. August 2018
The Guardian 12th. August 2018
Rail Engineer 31st. July 2018
Rhondda Cynon Taff Council Press Release July 2018
BBC News 6th. July 2018
South Wales Echo 5th. July 2018
Wales OnLine 3rd. July 2018
Welsh Assembly – Plenary Session 21st. June 2018
4-Traders 29th. May 2018
Sky News 8th. May 2018
Wales Online 29th. May 2018
BBC Wales 6 o’clock News 18th. May 2018
BBC Wales News Online 18th. May 2018
The Times, p. 15 8th. May 2018
Wales Online 11th. April 2018
Jill Evans MEP and RTS delegation at EU in Brussels 29 Feb. 2018
South Wales Echo 12th. April 2018
​BBC News Online 4th. April 2018
Rail Engineer – Issue 160 February 2018
Metro News Online – 30th. January 2018
 
Daily Telegraph 28th. January 2018

Political developments in tunnel campaign

The future of the disused railway tunnel under Queensbury, West Yorkshire will be debated by Bradford councillors next week as the campaign to restore it for cycling purposes enters a crucial phase.

Highways England’s Historical Railways Estate (HRE), which looks after the 1.4-mile long tunnel on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT), could begin works to infill key parts of the structure in the summer if a transfer of ownership to another statutory body has not been agreed. This work would render it permanently beyond use and effectively rule out any future development of a cycle network connecting Halifax with Bradford and Keighley.

A motion put forward by Conservative Councillor Andrew Senior, who represents Queensbury Ward, will be put to the vote during a meeting of the full Council on Tuesday 16th January. It welcomes the efforts of the Queensbury Tunnel Society and Sustrans to develop plans for reopening the structure and, if passed, asks Council officials to engage with stakeholders in exploring options for the tunnel. It also calls on the Chief Executive “to investigate the feasibility of Bradford Council taking ownership of the tunnel so as to secure the option of it being reopened” and for discussions about its future to be facilitated with HRE and the DfT.

Mr Senior says: “The tunnel could provide the venue for a beautiful walk or cycle ride – even in inclement weather – allowing people to keep fit. Even on the worst of days it would be better than staying indoors due to rain or wind. The tunnel could offer a unique amenity and I am confident that it would appeal to many, many people from near and afar. I hope that my colleagues across the Council Chamber will back my motion supporting utilising the tunnel and then work alongside me and anyone else who is interested to see this happen.”

Meanwhile Lord Tony Greaves, a Liberal Democrat Peer, has submitted a written Parliamentary question asking what discussions the Government is having with local authorities and interested parties with a view to completing a cycle route along the former railway between Halifax, Bradford and Keighley, via Queensbury Tunnel. He has also asked the Government to “instruct the Historical Railways Estate not to take any action which would prevent the restoration and use of Queensbury Tunnel for such a purpose until the completion of a full and proper assessment of the tunnel’s condition, economic potential, connectivity challenges and associated asset management issues.”

Lord Greaves, who was born in Bradford and is a keen recreational cyclist, says: “I’m asking the question to try to pin down the Government on this matter and to help in the process of persuading them that the creation of a cycleway that uses the tunnel is a sensible, realistic and very desirable way forward.

“I am very impressed with the commitment and professionalism of the Queensbury Tunnel Society and will do what I can to help their campaign.”

Norah McWilliam, leader of the Society, says: “We are obviously delighted that Councillor Senior and Lord Greaves can see the tunnel’s potential and support our campaign to save it. Whilst we recognise it’s a structure that presents many challenges, we know they can be overcome at a sustainable cost and that investment in the tunnel will be repaid handsomely over time through social and economic benefits.

“We hope that both the local Council and central Government will work collaboratively with us to ensure those benefits are secured for future generations. It would be wasteful and short-sighted if the Historical Railways Estate was allowed to convert £3 million of public money into concrete and pour it into a black hole.”

Just before Christmas, a Council official assured the Society that “Bradford Council will do everything within its means to explore various options to keep the Queensbury Tunnel open as long as, in doing so, it would not be detrimental to the Council.”

An ePetition (www.tiny.cc/QueensburyTunnel) asking for HRE’s abandonment plans to be suspended has now been signed by almost 7,000 people.

–ENDS–

A collection of higher-resolution photos for Media use is available from:
www.queensburytunnel.org.uk/media/imagery.shtml

More general information on the campaign is available from:
www.queensburytunnel.org.uk/

Media enquiries:
media@queensburytunnel.org.uk

Notes for editors

Queensbury Tunnel was built by the Great Northern Railway between 1874 and 1878 as part of the Halifax, Thornton & Keighley Railway. Work was initially expected to take two years but was delayed significantly by two of the seven construction shafts having to be abandoned due to water ingress. At least ten navvies lost their lives during the work.

The tunnel, which is 2,501 yards (2,287 metres) long, opened to freight traffic in October 1878 and passenger trains in December 1879. The line between Holmfield and Queensbury, which included the tunnel, was officially closed on 28th May 1956. Track lifting took place in 1963.

Queensbury Tunnel would be the longest in the UK to host a shared path if the proposal to reopen it for such a purpose is successful. Currently Combe Down Tunnel in Bath holds that position at 1,829 yards (1,672 metres). The longest in Europe is the 2,931-yard (2,680 metres) Uitzi Tunnel on the Plazaola Greenway in northern Spain. However plans are being developed to restore Rhondda Tunnel in South Wales for cycle path use; this has a length of 3,443 yards (3,148 metres).

The Historical Railways Estate (HRE), part of Highways England, is responsible for inspecting, maintaining and limiting the liability associated with more than 3,000 disused railway bridges, abutments, tunnels, cuttings, culverts and viaducts. HRE’s remit was formerly fulfilled by BRB (Residuary) until its abolition on 30th September 2013.

Sky News 6th. January 2018
The Guardian 1st. Jan. 2018

2017 IN THE PRESS

2016 IN THE PRESS

Wales Online, 22nd December 2016
A story book about one man’s childhood adventures into the Rhondda Tunnel has been published
BBC News, 17th November 2016
Rhondda Tunnel Society: ‘End funding log-jam before Brexit’
Wales Online, 20th September 2016
Gala concert to be held to raise funds for the Rhondda Tunnel Society
Wales Online, 14th September 2016
The Rhondda Tunnel Society has opened its first shop to help raise money for the project
Wales Online, 8th September 2016
Leanne Wood to officially open Rhondda Tunnel Society shop
Wales Online, 20th August 2016
Rhondda Tunnel Society carpet appeal meets target in record time – thanks to a donation from US church
Wales Online, 9th August 2016
Will there soon be light at the ends of the Rhondda Tunnel?
Wales Online, 1st August 2016
Rhondda Tunnel Society investigate feasibility of tunnel toll charge
Wales Online, 13th July 2016
These are the latest striking pictures taken inside the Rhondda Tunnel
Wales Online, 28th June 2016
Rhondda Tunnel Society make tunnel exploration to collect bat monitors
Bath Chronicle, 8th May 2016
Bath’s Two Tunnels prove inspiration for Wales restoration project
Wales Online, 6th May 2016
The Bath Tunnels providing inspiration for Rhondda’s underground cycle pathway
Wales Online, 20th April 2016
Welsh Government under attack amid claims they are ‘stalling’ over Rhondda Tunnel
Wales Online, 12th April 2016
The best pictures yet inside the Rhondda Tunnel show it in all its glory
Wales Online, 29th March 2016
A striking new CGI film shows how the Rhondda Tunnel would transform the local area
South Wales Evening Post, 27th March 2016
Cyclists urged to show support for Britain’s largest cycle tunnel scheme
Wales Online, 11th March 2016
Here’s the first film footage shot inside the Rhondda Tunnel
South Wales Evening Post, 20th February 2016
Rhondda Tunnel campaigners hit out at Welsh Government over project delays
Wales Online, 19th February 2016
Rhondda Tunnel campaigners hit out at Welsh Government over delays in project
BBC News, 19th February 2016
Blaencwm tunnel project ‘stalled’ by Welsh Government
Road.cc, 7th February 2016
Bat survey edges Rhondda Tunnel closer to realisation
Wales Online, 6th February 2016
How transfer of ownership of the Rhondda Tunnel is ‘holding the project back’
Rail Engineer, 3rd February 2016
Healing wounds
Daily Mail, 28th January 2016
Britain’s longest cycle tunnel under hills of south Wales is put on hold so wildlife experts can check for nesting BATS
Wales Online, 26th January 2016
Pictures released of Rhondda Tunnel bat survey
BBC Wales, 20th January 2016
Bat survey in Rhondda rail tunnel for cycle route plan
Wales Online, 19th January 2016
Why they’re going on a bat hunt in the Rhondda Tunnel

2015 IN THE PRESS

Wales Online, 23rd December 2015
How the world fell in love with the Rhondda Tunnel again and again in 2015
Wales Online, 16th December 2015
Rhondda Tunnel Society welcomes ‘green light’ for plans to re-open Wales’ longest tunnel
Wales Online, 10th December 2015
Rhondda Tunnel Society’s £5000 windfall win to carry out bat survey
Wales Online, 17th November 2015
UK Government is not ruling out handing control of the Rhondda Tunnel over to Wales
Wales Online, 12th November 2015
Make a date with the Rhondda Tunnel calendar
Wales Online, 22nd October 2015
Call for Rhondda Tunnel ownership to be transferred to Welsh Government
South Wales Evening Post, 19th October 2015
Plans to reopen Rhondda Tunnel as world’s second longest cycle tunnel steam ahead
Wales Online, 7th October 2015
Rhondda Tunnel Society aims to power on as organisation celebrates its first year
Wales Online, 22nd September 2015
Rhondda Tunnel Society reflects on first birthday with a badge of honour
BBC Wales, 3rd August 2015
Hollywood’s Sheen backs bid to reopen tunnel
South Wales Evening Post, 31st July 2015
Michael Sheen gives his backing to project
Wales Online, 31st July 2015 
Michael Sheen pays a visit and recognises tunnel’s huge potential
Wales Online, 18th July 2015
Rhondda Tunnel ‘fans’ in Japan, Australia and USA  would love to see it re-open
South Wales Evening Post, 15th July 2015
Rhondda Tunnel in ‘remarkable’ condition boosting hopes it could re-open
Wales Online, 14th July 2015
It shut for 47 years, but report reveals remarkable condition
Wales Online, 13th July 2015
New pictures released from inside the Rhondda Tunnel
Wales Online, 2nd July 2015
Society on right track after confirmation of study
Wales Online, 25th May 2015
Society unveils logo design winners
ITV Wales News, 16th May 2015
‘Lost’ Rhondda Tunnel stone revealed
BBC Wales News, 11th May 2015
First look inside the Rhondda Tunnel
Wales Online, 11th May 2015
Inside the Rhondda Tunnel
South Wales Evening Post, 5th May 2015
Feasibility study for tunnel cycle route
BBC Wales News, 3rd May 2015
Study to look at tunnel
South Wales Evening Post, 29th April 2015
Plan on track after meeting with Minister
Wales Online, 29th April 2015
Society on track after meeting with Minister
Wales Online, 21st April 2015
Inspectors complete their three-day investigation
South Wales Evening Post, 16th April 2015
Cycle route comes a step nearer

BBC Wales News, 16th April 2015
Supporters in Blaencwm wait to hear if tunnel can become cycle route
ITV Wales News, 15th April 2015
Historic Rhondda Tunnel to be inspected for reopening
The Times, 8th April 2015
Plan to turn old rail tunnel into longest cycle track
Mail Online, 7th April 2015
Two mile Victorian tunnel to be given new lease of life
Wales Online, 6th April 2015
Rhondda Tunnel could set a record as world’s second longest tunnel
Wales Online, 26th March 2015
Date set for crucial inspection of Wales’ longest tunnel
Wales Online, 18th March 2015
Plans to open tunnel are on track for more good news
New Civil Engineer, 18th March 2015
Boost for campaign to re-open tunnel closed in the 1960’s
Wales Online, 11th March 2015
The story behind Wales’ longest tunnel that could reopen after 47 years
Wales Online, 10th March 2015
Plans to re-open Wales’ longest tunnel receives a boost as inspectors prepare for first official visit in over 30 years
Road.cc, 13th February 2015
Welsh Assembly Members back plans to re-open abandoned railway tunnel for cyclists and walkers
South Wales Evening Post, 12th February 2015
Looking back at The Rhondda Tunnel
South Wales Evening Post, 12th February 2015
Grassroots campaign to regenerate the Afan Valley by opening the tunnel goes to Senedd
Wales Online, 12th February 2015
Plans to reopen abandoned Welsh railway tunnel described as an ‘exciting opportunity’ by Edwina Hart
BBC Democracy Live, 11th February 2015
‘Re-open tunnel between Blaengwynfi and Blaencwm’ says Bethan Jenkins
Wales Online, 20th January 2015
Rhondda Tunnel Society’s plans to reopen Wales’ longest disused tunnel now set in stone
Wales Online, 13th January 2015
Group behind plans to re-open tunnel ‘stunned’ at response
Road.cc, 5th January 2015
Wales’ longest disused rail tunnel may become cycleway
Wales Online, 4th January 2015
Full Steam Ahead for group planning to re-open tunnel