Rhondda Tunnel - possible reopening for use as a cycle route?

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by adrock1976, 10 Apr 2015.

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  1. adrock1976

    adrock1976 Established Member

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    Below is a news article regarding the reuse of Rhondda Tunnel.

    I received this via the Sustrans FB page - my sincere apologies that the original news item first appeared in a Murdoch rag.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3028946/Two-mile-Victorian-railway-line-Rhondda-Tunnel-reopened-cycle-tunnel.html#ixzz3WhrFlL2X

    There are several images on the Mail website of the tunnel.

    In peace

    Adam
     
  2. QueensCurve

    QueensCurve Established Member

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    Can't help but think it would be better for the tunnel to be used by trains than cyclists.

    Sorry to be pedantic, but the Daily Hate isn't in the Murdoch stable.
     
  3. anthony263

    anthony263 Established Member

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    Would be rather difficult to electrify the Rhondda tunnel I believe plus I think the trackbed has been built on down the afan valley as well as trying to get a connection to the mainline near Port Talbot. I do wonder if the trackbed north of Maesteg is intact as well as Caerau tunnel.

    If the link between Treherbert and Maesteg is re instated then you could have a circular service linking Treherbert with Maesteg, Bridgend, Barry, Cardiff & Pontypridd
     
  4. Gwenllian2001

    Gwenllian2001 Member

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    This was considered back in the early Sixties and might well have come about if the general attitude of the day, by both Government and Opposition, hadn't been so anti - railway. Those of us who are old enough will remember the pledge by Labour in opposition to halt all major rail closures. As it turned out, the closures not only went ahead but accellerated under Wilson's Government.

    The planned service would have taken advantage of the new layout at Cymmer Afan, Following the abandonment of the Rh & S B below Cymmer Afan.Trains would have run via Maesteg to Bridgend and via the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff back to Treherbert A few DMUs carried the map of this route but they were swiftly removed.
     
  5. High Dyke

    High Dyke Established Member

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    I'm surprised this has taken so long to crop up again. It was recently mentioned on a repeated BBC Wales Weatherman Walking programme. The show was first broadcast in 2010.

    It would be great to have a viable rail service through it again, but failing that a foot/cycle path would be great news. A good use for an old structure.
     
  6. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    A group of us walked/climbed/cycled over the top, in Summer 2013. To say that was difficult is an understatement. I wouldn't do that again, but if the tunnel re-opened, I'd absolutely want to cycle through it!

    Either way, I want to cycle along the Afan Valley again, and I'd urge anyone who can ride a bike to do so too. You won't be disappointed.

    Anyone visiting the area requiring food, G2 @ Blaengwynfi is amazing value.
     
  7. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    Way back - the service was Swansea - Neath - Cymmer - Treherbet - Cardiff !
     
  8. Greenback

    Greenback Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Don't forget that the reason these lines were built was to carry freight, mainly coal from the pits to the ports. It wasn't just the anti rail attitude of the 1960's, it was the decline of 'King Coal' and the switch of freight to the roads that were the major factor in line closures in the area, simply because passenger traffic was never that high on most lines even when railways were at their peak.

    I read a book that was written by a Cymmer signalman who said that although trains were used for those travelling longer distances, most local traffic went by bus.

    The Afan Valley is beautiful, and I'd recommend a visit to anyone who has never been there.
     
  9. racyrich

    racyrich Member

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    Yes, I read about this back in January. Here
    http://road.cc/content/news/139868-wales-longest-disused-rail-tunnel-may-become-cycleway

    Some links to some interesting expeditions through the tunnel are in that article.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 11 Apr 2015
  10. DownSouth

    DownSouth Established Member

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    As a cyclist, I'm not sure that I'd be too keen on my security in a three kilometre tunnel, especially if it was originally a single track tunnel.

    At a minimum you'd need plenty of CCTV cameras and panic buttons spaced closely, but even then I wouldn't expect it to get a meaningful number of female cyclists using it.
     
  11. Stompehh

    Stompehh Member

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    Combe Down tunnel in Bath is 1.7km long, has no CCTV/panic buttons and has dim lighting. It is very well used!
     
  12. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham Established Member

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    Why?
    Have you realised where this tunnel is?
     
  13. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I suspect not!

    I've cycled a lot of disused lines in the Valleys area (still some I've not done, which I want to do) and I feel very safe there. I'd not have any concerns using the tunnel.
     
  14. DownSouth

    DownSouth Established Member

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    Irrespective of location, I'd not be keen on a 3km tunnel.

    There are lots of examples of best practice cycling infrastructure waiting to be copied, but long tunnels are never among them.
     
  15. PeterY

    PeterY Member

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    I hope this scheme comes to fruition.

    I enjoyed my walk though Combe Down tunnel, last year.
     
  16. paulravuslante

    paulravuslante Member

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    The above article blames Beeching for the closure of this tunnel but I've read from a few sources that the tunnel was closed due to structural problems. The Middleton Press book by Mitchell and Smith on the line from Pontypridd to Port Talbot states it closed on 26th February 1968. The Forgotten Relics website also confirms the year and that it was "temporarily" closed on safety grounds but never reopened due to costs being prohibitive.

    That said a visit to the tunnel in 2010 documented on the TunnelsUK.com website shows that large sections are still intact. Advances in construction in the intervening period may mean it is worthwhile reopening.

    Finally, it is worth noting that other abandoned tunnels in the Afan valley exist. Most useful would be the Gyfylchi Tunnel from near to the Afan Argoed Centre over to Tonmawr. Pictures are available here on Forgotten Relics. Also there is the Gelli Tunnel east of Cymmer, but this was made surplus to requirements in 1960 when the two lines in the valley were connected by BR. Pictures again on Forgotten Relics.
     
    Last edited: 13 Apr 2015
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