Notes to Editors

Queensbury Tunnel was built by the Great Northern Railway between 1874 and 1878 as part of the Halifax, Thornton & Keighley Railway. At least ten navvies lost their lives during the work which 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.

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. Lifting of the tracks 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). However plans are being developed to restore Rhondda Tunnelin South Wales for cycle path use; this has a length of 3,443 yards (3,148 metres). The longest in Europe is the 2,931-yard (2,680 metres) Uitzi Tunnel on the Plazaola Greenway in northern Spain, whilst the 3,963-yard Snoqualmie Tunnel in America holds the world record.

The Historical Railways Estate (HRE), part of Highways England, is responsible for inspecting, maintaining and limiting the associated liability from around 3,200 disused railway bridges, abutments, tunnels, cuttings and viaducts. HRE’s role was formerly fulfilled by British Railways Board (Residuary) until its abolition 30th September 2013.

The Queensbury Community Heritage and Action Partnership (Q-CHAP) is a collective of small, local organisations aiming to widen community involvement in the village’s built and rural heritage. Its vision, which has three main elements, has seen it take part of the Black Dyke Mills complex for community use, with the former railway tunnel hosting a foot/cycle path and Station Road restored to provide a connection between the two. The group believes that this linked package would bring in visitors and help to regenerate the area.

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Study reveals navvies' tunnel sacrifice

Tuesday 27 June 2017