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All across the Great Western territory => Other ways to travel: cycle routes, cycles, and how the railways deal with them => Topic started by: grahame on January 01, 2017, 06:29:00 pm



Title: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: grahame on January 01, 2017, 06:29:00 pm
From The BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-38170694)

Are Wales' disused railway tunnels an untapped resource for tourism?

Quote
Disused railway tunnels lie dormant across the Welsh landscape, but there are some who want to breathe new life into them. Should these dark and dingy passageways be left sealed up or could they be an untapped resource for tourism and commuting?
One old train tunnel in particular has captured the public's imagination in the last couple of years.[/quote


Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: ChrisB on January 01, 2017, 07:00:13 pm
250,000 users in first year, which is always going to be higher(est) as a lot will visit the first time. I wonder about users in second/later years when novelty value wears off?


Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: grahame on January 01, 2017, 08:15:02 pm
250,000 users in first year, which is always going to be higher(est) as a lot will visit the first time. I wonder about users in second/later years when novelty value wears off?

No, I disagree with your bolded hypothesis, but I do agree there's a significant possibility with a new opening / service / attraction of a drop back after people have tried it for the first time.   This is why it is so important as part of any scheme to gain something to have a long term plan too.  If you make sure your early customers enjoy the experience and want to come back.  That they tell their friends. That your marketing continues. That you work to resolve issues arising and change enough to make people want to re-purchase an updated experience ...

Strategy - to gain and retain.  And knowing that retaining is a much longer road than gaining.  I can quote examples ... two TransWilts, one hotel and one major company.  And I can tell you how in a couple of cases the doubting Thomases were rather taken aback by the continuing upward curve  ;D ... but then we did win the ACoRP marketing award last year.



Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: Richard Fairhurst on January 01, 2017, 09:55:02 pm
A tunnel isn't enough on its own to get cyclists arriving in their thousands, but if it connects to a network of other routes it may be. That's the genius of the Two Tunnels route in Bath: it makes an almost traffic-free 12-mile circular route, out to Midford and back along the Kennet & Avon towpath. So I can see the Bethesda Tunnel scheme working, as it would link to the already popular Lon Las Ogwen (NCN 82). Rhondda and Queensbury, the two other prominent tunnel cycleway projects at the moment, are a greater ask.


Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on January 01, 2017, 10:08:41 pm
On a much smaller scale, it's quirky and fun - the Shute Shelve tunnel, on the cycle path that used to be the Strawberry Line (http://www.thestrawberryline.org.uk/index.php?section=visit), around the Mendip Hills.  Best to take your own torch there, though.  ;) :D ;D



Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: grahame on January 01, 2017, 10:36:45 pm
Here's another in our area.

Responsible marketing from our railway side is called for, though ... we could so easily get 20 people and their bicycles to our local station on a Sunday morning to catch the train for a day out on this trail ...

(http://www.wellho.net/pix/rmark1.jpg)

(http://www.wellho.net/pix/rmark2.jpg)

(http://www.wellho.net/pix/rmark3.jpg)

... so note the walks and other attractions too - as noted as desirable by Richard Fairhurst


Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: macbrains on January 02, 2017, 12:13:30 pm
Is it me?  Or does that figure look a bit....spooky? :o


Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: froome on January 02, 2017, 12:41:58 pm
Is it me?  Or does that figure look a bit....spooky? :o

Sustrans have gone in for 'spooky' sculptures in the last few years. The ones I particularly find disconcerting are those on the old platform at Warmley on the Bristol & Bath Railway Path, which in the evening gloom do actually look like people waiting on the platform.

I live very close to the Two Tunnels path in Bath and can vouch for its success. It is used, probably in this order of usage, by walkers, runners and cyclists (and beyond Midford by some horse riders), and the length of the longest tunnel doesn't appear to deter people (I've often cycled through it and passed people walking through, and have led walks through it myself and found that everyone has been quite happy to use it).

If it just did this it would be a success, but as Richard says, it also joins up with other routes which makes it especially good for cyclists - the circular route he describes coming back into Bath along the Kennet & Avon towpath is a fantastic route, about 12 miles altogether, now being done by walkers and runners as well as cyclists.


Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: CyclingSid on January 03, 2017, 11:06:52 am
The South Downs National Park has specified that all former railway lines in their area; primarily Chichester to Midhurst, Petersfield to Pulbourough, also possibly the old Watercress Line, are not to be built on but retained for cycling and walking. So they obviously forsee a benefit for tourism. The Centurion Trail, from Chichester north to Lavant has now been extended to the Singleton/West Dean Tunnel. They are in the process of doing an environmental audit of the tunnel (bats?) with a view to extending to Singleton village. There are two more tunnels before Midhurst. Be interesting to see how it progresses. There was a report some years ago from the Scottish Government extolling the benefit of old rail tracks for tourism, and the economic benefits it brought to communities.

The Downs Link, the former Guildford to Christ's Hospital and Christ's Hospital to Shoreham lines are a well-used route. The only difficulty I had was where the council had used the tunnel by Baynards Station for landfill, which left a fairly precipitous descent over the top.

There are numerous other former rail tracks, but sometime there is conflict with preservation groups who hope to re-instate trains either commercially or as heritage lines. The former Downs Link lines are an example where there were various proposals but they never came to anything.


Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: Bmblbzzz on January 03, 2017, 12:36:01 pm
To my mind the attraction is not specifically that these are tunnels but they are on old railway lines, and therefore traffic-free, mostly level and connecting places.


Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: Bmblbzzz on January 03, 2017, 12:38:53 pm
By the way, I'm wondering why this topic is in Buses and other ways to travel rather than Other ways to travel: cycle routes, cycles, and how the railways deal with them; presumably because in this case there is no railway interaction? Though that doesn't seem to be the case in some of the other threads in there either.


Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: grahame on January 03, 2017, 12:56:50 pm
By the way, I'm wondering why this topic is in Buses and other ways to travel rather than Other ways to travel: cycle routes, cycles, and how the railways deal with them; presumably because in this case there is no railway interaction? Though that doesn't seem to be the case in some of the other threads in there either.

Nah - it's because I overlooked that other board and started the thread in where it would have gone before the cycling stuff was split off.  Sorry about that ... moving it now, and may move some others.


Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: chuffed on March 24, 2017, 09:49:32 am
This has all become a bit boring..... ::)


Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: Rob on the hill on March 24, 2017, 11:40:14 am
This has all become a bit boring..... ::)
Not if you can see the light at the end of the tunnel... ;D


Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: basset44 on January 09, 2019, 11:23:53 am
Hi All,

Is the light at the end of the Tunnel

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-46291959

Full steam ahead for old railway tunnels as cycle paths?  BBC Wales

Basset


Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: Reginald25 on January 09, 2019, 01:54:02 pm
What the Rhondda Tunnel Society have achieved in the last few years is impressive. This would be the longest tunnel accessible in Wales if it comes to fruition, and their publicity is giving the impression it's when not if.  See http://www.rhonddatunnelsociety.co.uk/. Woth joining to support them.



Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: Richard Fairhurst on January 09, 2019, 04:56:42 pm
Very slightly over the border, plans seem to be moving ahead to reuse the Wye Valley trackbed from Tidenham (near Chepstow) to Tintern as a cycle and walking route. This does include a short tunnel, although there's a landslip just north of it which currently blocks access. The track of the old Tidenham branch is apparently to be taken up and some of it will find a new home at the Forest of Dean Railway.


Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: Bmblbzzz on January 09, 2019, 11:11:30 pm
Very slightly over the border, plans seem to be moving ahead to reuse the Wye Valley trackbed from Tidenham (near Chepstow) to Tintern as a cycle and walking route. This does include a short tunnel, although there's a landslip just north of it which currently blocks access. The track of the old Tidenham branch is apparently to be taken up and some of it will find a new home at the Forest of Dean Railway.
Still some way to go with that though. They're saying two to three years to remove the old track, then they'll "be able to work up to" a second section which should eventually connect with a bridge over the Wye which hasn't been built yet!


Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: Red Squirrel on January 10, 2019, 08:48:42 am
Very slightly over the border, plans seem to be moving ahead to reuse the Wye Valley trackbed from Tidenham (near Chepstow) to Tintern as a cycle and walking route. This does include a short tunnel, although there's a landslip just north of it which currently blocks access. The track of the old Tidenham branch is apparently to be taken up and some of it will find a new home at the Forest of Dean Railway.
Still some way to go with that though. They're saying two to three years to remove the old track, then they'll "be able to work up to" a second section which should eventually connect with a bridge over the Wye which hasn't been built yet!

Building a new Bridge on the River Wye is trivial, compared with the effort required to deal with the various parish planning authorities along the route... they make North Somerset look dangerously progressive.


Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: Richard Fairhurst on January 10, 2019, 10:16:59 am
Still some way to go with that though. They're saying two to three years to remove the old track, then they'll "be able to work up to" a second section which should eventually connect with a bridge over the Wye which hasn't been built yet!

I found the progress update a bit hard to parse, but on the basis that Dayhouse Quarry, the A48 bridge, and the National Diving & Activity Centre are pretty much the same place, I think they're saying that Sustrans/A-BCC will be removing the track north of the A48 bridge (through the tunnel) imminently. The FoDR will then be taking up the track south of the bridge in their own time - as you say, over the next few years.


Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: CyclingSid on January 10, 2019, 10:50:45 am
Not quite the same progress with some English tunnels. The South Downs National Park wants to re-open the Singleton Tunnel on the old Chichester to Midhurst branch (to extend the Centurion Way). I get the impression that Natural England are digging their heels in because of bats. Not aware that the issue has been raised with the two following tunnels.


Title: Re: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling
Post by: Red Squirrel on January 10, 2019, 11:04:54 am
Bats were certainly an issue in the Two Tunnels scheme in Bath, but not one that could not be overcome:

Quote
...lights placed every seven metres cast soft pools of illumination on to the smooth road surface and the sooty brick and limestone walls. So as not to disturb the resident bats, the low roof of the tunnel is kept in semi-darkness.

Source: The Independent (https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/uk/tunnel-vision-for-bath-8569400.html)



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