The latest section of a leisure trail that will eventually link Cullingworth with Queensbury opened on Friday.

Spectacular Thornton viaduct isin use again almost half a century after it was axed in nationwide railway cuts.

Up to 300 adults and children celebrated the latest opening on the Great Northern Trail.

The new section extends from Thornton Primary School — which was built on the former Thornton Station — to Headley Lane, over the recently repaired viaduct.

Sustainable transport charity Sustrans is developing the trail —to form part of the National Cycle Network — in partnership with Bradford Council and the Great Northern Railway Trail Forum, a consortium of supporting local organisations.

Waste Recycling Environmental (WREN) and Bradford Council provided the £350,000 funding needed to complete the phase.

Forum chairman Jeff McQuillan said: “This latest new section marks a defining moment.

“We are realising our vision of creating a railway path as a green corridor for the sole use of the general public for the simple joys of cycling, walking and horse riding.

“There have been many distractions in the way, but the zeal and determination remains strong to achieve our goal.”

David Hall, Sustrans’ Yorkshire regional director, said: “The local landscape at Thornton is quite outstanding. Many people who travel regularly on Thornton Road will have no idea of the dramatic views across Clayton Valley, soon to be uniquely accessible to people for a stroll or a bike ride along the railway trail.

“This section of the trail will also provide a resource for children at Thornton Primary School as well as a safe route to the school from new housing now under development.”

The new one-kilometre section of the trail took four months to construct and the entrie six-mile project is due to be finished by 2011.

There are now three viaducts and three miles of route open to cyclists, walkers and horse riders.

For information on the trail visit