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On track to Europe's longest bike tunnel


A railway tunnel that once connected two coal-mining valleys in Wales looks set to become Europe's longest underground cycle path.

The Rhondda tunnel, which connects the Rhondda and Afan valleys, has been shut down since the 1960s along with the rail line it was part of. Its ends were sealed, and over time its floor flooded as in the image above, made before it was drained in 2018.

The tunnel, although in Wales, has been property of Highways England, a government agency responsible for roads. It had been carrying out a policy of destroying unused railway lines and bridges to save maintenance costs, but that policy has not been halted to allow facilities to be used for hiking and biking projects, according to UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Shapps has said he will hand over control to Wales so that the planned cycle route can be completed. The two-mile long tunnel, opened in 1890, carried coal trains from mine to port.

The Rhondda Tunnel in its heyday, before being shut in the Sixties
The tunnel in its heyday

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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