- The Rt Hon John Hayes CBE MPMinister of State, Department for Transport
- Andrew Jones MPParliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport
- Kersten EnglandChief Executive, Bradford Council
Securing a beneficial future for Queensbury Tunnel
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. Over the summer, 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 2017, at which point the opportunity will be lost forever. There is no going back.
We are asking the Department for Transport 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.
- Minister of State, Department for Transport
The Rt Hon John Hayes CBE MP
- Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport
Andrew Jones MP
- Chief Executive, Bradford Council
A report on future management options/costs associated with a disused railway tunnel under Queensbury (Bradford) was sent to the Department for Transport in 2016 by the Historical Railways Estate (HRE). It put the cost of repairing the tunnel for use as a cycle path - which is the aspiration of our campaign group - at approximately £35 million, whilst abandonment of the tunnel - HRE’s favoured approach - was estimated at £3 million. On this basis, Robert Goodwill MP, then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, determined that repair was too expensive and HRE is now making preparations for abandonment.
Both costings resulted from desk studies/quantity surveying exercises. However an examination of the report has revealed a number of errors and it is clear that the various options have not been developed sufficiently to provide confidence in the costings. The view of the campaign group is that the report should have been rejected. In contrast, a remediation plan produced by a highly-experienced tunnel engineer and a civil engineering contractor has now put the cost of repair at £2.81 million. This plan was produced following an inspection of the tunnel in June 2016.
The abandonment of Queensbury Tunnel represents an entirely wasteful use of significant public funds. We urge the DfT to prevent the destruction of this valuable asset and to ensure the money is invested for public good. The tunnel has the potential to form an important link in a future cycling/walking route connecting Bradford/Keighley with Halifax, bringing long-term economic, health and environmental benefits to the Yorkshire region.
We have previously provided the DfT with a copy of our study - which includes a remediation plan - for consideration and would welcome the opportunity of meeting with you to discuss how Queensbury Tunnel could be transformed into an asset, re-emerging as a key part of our sustainable transport network, as well as attracting more visitors to the area.
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