Bike route plea over old Cullingworth tunnel

The Queensbury tunnel, which could be opened for use as a cycle track from Cullingworth

The Queensbury tunnel, which could be opened for use as a cycle track from Cullingworth

First published in Keighley

A derelict railway tunnel could soon form part of a popular cycle and pedestrian route from Cullingworth.

Pressure is growing for the Queensbury tunnel, which has been blocked for decades, to be brought back into use as part of the Great Northern Trail.

Large parts of the former Great Northern railway line – taking in Queensbury, Thornton, Denholme and Cullingworth – have been opened up as a trail since 2005.

But the tunnel has caused a break in the route that local groups and sustainable transport organisation, Sustrans, is keen to remedy.

The Highways Agency is responsible for the tunnel, and confirmed it will carry out maintenance work in the coming years.

Now there is a push for this maintenance to include a cycleway that could attract cyclists and ramblers from around the country.

And with a generation of youngsters set to be inspired by the Tour de France coming to the region in July, the tunnel could be an even further boost to local cycling, as well as helping increase visitors to villages like Denholme and Cullingworth.

Dave Stevens, of Sustrans, said: “If we wanted to build a high quality cycleway from Bradford to Halifax, the best route is to re-open the old railway tunnel.

“We are keen to be a partner in delivering this. We can point to recently re-opened tunnels in Dewsbury and Bath as how these schemes can be a success.”

Richard Kunz, group co-ordinator for the Great Northern Trail, said: “It is an exciting project. If it goes ahead, it could provide an amazing link between Halifax, Bradford, Keighley and Queensbury.

“If a deal can be done to preserve the tunnel, it will be unbelievable.

“Once it was open, people would come from around the country to ride it. Since the one in Bath opened it has had loads of visitors. I hope the project will go ahead.”

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