Queensbury cycle tunnel gets £1m development funding

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image copyrightForgotten Relics
image captionThe Queensbury Tunnel was closed to trains in 1956

An abandoned railway tunnel will receive £1m in government funding to see if it can be reopened for cyclists and pedestrians.

The Queensbury Tunnel would be used as part of a traffic-free "greenway" route between Bradford and Halifax.

Campaigners say it would cost £27m to redevelop the 1.4 mile (2.3km) long tunnel, which closed in 1956.

Northern Powerhouse Minister Grant Shapps said the money would help develop a business case for the route.

Mr Shapps said the proposed project was part of "reviving transport infrastructure in the North".

"What a shame it would be to see it consigned to history when it could be reborn as part of a green transport route linking Bradford with Halifax, helping to improve connectivity in an environmentally friendly way while being a source of pleasure for generations of cyclists and walkers to come," he said.

image copyrightFour by Three
image captionCampaigners want to reopen Queensbury Tunnel as part of a cycle network

The Department for Transport (DfT) said half the money would go to West Yorkshire Combined Authority with the other £500,000 going to Highways England, which manages the tunnel.

'Positive outcome'

Campaigners who support reopening the tunnel said they were "delighted" at the announcement.

Norah McWilliam, leader of the Queensbury Tunnel Society, said: "It's another important step towards a positive outcome for this historic piece of the region's industrial heritage.

"The appetite for walking and cycling has been clearly shown by the thousands of people who've taken it up during lockdown.

"We have to build on that foundation by encouraging others to follow in their footsteps and tyre tracks. But that's only going to happen if we provide safe, segregated, high-quality infrastructure for them to use."

Last month, Mr Shapps wrote to Bradford Council to commit £4m towards the construction of the tunnel which he said was a "best and final offer".

Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe described the figure as "inadequate".

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