Notes to 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. 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). 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 Tunnelin South Wales for cycle path use; this has a length of 3,443 yards (3,148 metres). Snoqualmie Tunnel in America holds the world record at 3,963 yards.

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

HRE’s proposed abandonment scheme has been split into two phases, the first of which is for ‘temporary works’ and got underway on 1st October. It has an estimated cost of £550,000. The second phase would require planning permission and has been costed by AMCO-Giffen, the appointed contractor, at £3.016 million. On 22nd October, Bradford Council informed Highways England that it would need to produce an Environmental Impact Assessment to accompany any planning application due to the complex relationship between the tunnel - most of which would be allowed to collapse - and historic local mine workings.

A collection of high-resolution images to accompany our News Releases can be downloaded via this link . Please ensure the specified credit is included alongside any picture published.


Tunnel dewatering under investigation

Friday 18 January 2019