Light at the end of the tun­nel

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

ADISUSED Vic­to­rian rail­way line link­ing two Welsh val­leys could be­come Europe’s long­est un­der­ground cy­cle route. Be­tween 1890 and 1968, coal trains rum­bled through the moun­tains, 1,000ft be­low the sur­face, from the mines of Rhondda to Swansea Bay. The Beech­ing cuts saw an end to the twom­ile-long Rhondda Tun­nel—it was shut up, but, af­ter 50 years, it has fi­nally seen day­light for the first time, as its new age dawns.

‘We are pro­gress­ing steadily in the right di­rec­tion and hope that very soon, af­ter the re­port from the de­tailed ex­am­in­ers [Bal­four Beatty], the tun­nel will re­ceive a clean bill of health,’ ex­plains Tony Moon, project sec­re­tary of the Rhondda Tun­nel So­ci­ety. The tests have been funded by a £90,000 com­mu­nity grant. ‘This will then give the all-clear for ei­ther the Welsh govern­ment to take own­er­ship of the tun­nel from High­ways Eng­land, or per­haps a joint share with Neath Port Tal­bot coun­cil, Rhondda Cynon Taf coun­cil and the Welsh govern­ment.’

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