Light at the end of the tunnel
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.’