It’s not easy to see Queensbury Tunnel as more than just a grotty Victorian relic, but we hope you’ll help us realise our vision for it.
Built in the 1870s to take a railway from Halifax to Bradford and Keighley, this historic engineering work – almost 1½ miles long – has been redundant for the past 60 years, leaving parts of it in poor condition. But if repaired, the tunnel could play a central role in a future cycle path network – when finances allow – linking communities to the west of Bradford.
However, without Ministerial intervention, it will have been put beyond use long before then as a result of abandonment plans being progressed by its custodian, Highways England’s Historical Railways Estate (HRE). Estimates suggest the cost of that work will be about £3 million – funded by us, the taxpayer. We’ll get nothing back for our expenditure; it’s just money poured into a black hole.
There is an alternative though. In the summer of 2016, a specialist engineering team developed a proposal which would see the tunnel proportionately repaired for £2.81 million. This would transform it from a liability into an asset, ensuring Queensbury Tunnel could repay that investment over time through social, environmental, health and economic benefits.
We are not seeking any public funds beyond those already committed to the tunnel; we only want them to be spent in a way that isn’t destructive. Our aim is to secure the structure for future reuse, delivering maximum benefit and value for that £3 million. It’s about the legacy we leave for future generations.
It’s now or never for Queensbury Tunnel. HRE’s work is likely to start in 2018, at which point the opportunity will be lost forever. There is no going back.
We are asking the Department for Transport and Highways England to suspend the abandonment work whilst stakeholders carry out a broad assessment of the tunnel’s great potential and its associated challenges.
Please sign if you share our vision.