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Author Topic: Re-use of Welsh railway tunnels for cycling  (Read 5203 times)
grahame
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« on: January 01, 2017, 06:29:00 PM »

From The BBC

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
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ChrisB
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« Reply #1 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?
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grahame
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« Reply #2 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  Grin ... but then we did win the ACoRP marketing award last year.

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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #3 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.
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #4 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, around the Mendip Hills.  Best to take your own torch there, though.  Wink Cheesy Grin

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grahame
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« Reply #5 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 ...







... so note the walks and other attractions too - as noted as desirable by Richard Fairhurst
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macbrains
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« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2017, 12:13:30 PM »

Is it me?  Or does that figure look a bit....spooky? Shocked
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froome
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« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2017, 12:41:58 PM »

Is it me?  Or does that figure look a bit....spooky? Shocked

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.
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #8 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.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #9 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.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #10 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.
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grahame
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« Reply #11 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.
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chuffed
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« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2017, 09:49:32 AM »

This has all become a bit boring..... Roll Eyes
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Rob on the hill
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« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2017, 11:40:14 AM »

This has all become a bit boring..... Roll Eyes
Not if you can see the light at the end of the tunnel... Grin
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