Campaigners who are fighting to prevent a disused railway tunnel in West Yorkshire from being permanently closed and want to see it host a cycle path have received the unanimous backing of Bradford City Council.
It is hoped that the Queensbury Tunnel, which is 2,501 yards long and closed to rail traffic in 1956, can house part of a cycle route running from Bradford to Halifax.
The Historical Railways Estate, part of Highways England, wants to seal the tunnel, rendering it permanently unusable and insists it would cost £35 million to convert into a cycling facility.
The Queensbury Tunnel Society, which is trying to save it, put the cost at £2.8 million – less than a tenth as much.
Earlier this month, campaigners reportedly secured agreement from the Department for Transport (DfT) to pay them the £3 million set aside for closing the tunnel so long as Bradford City Council assumed responsibility for the tunnel.
Councillor Andrew Senior, who represents the Queensbury Ward for the Conservative Party, tabled a motion asking the council to “engage with interested parties in exploring options for the tunnel, investigate the feasibility of taking on its ownership, [and] facilitate discussions with the Department for Transport, Highways England’s Historical Railways Estate and other funders.”
He told councillors: “The tunnel has been earmarked for an abandonment project involving blocking it all up with concrete at a likely cost of £3 million.
“If the Council was to allow this to happen, it would mean this marvellous piece of Bradford heritage would be lost forever.”