Home Heritage Video: Rhondda Tunnel Detailed Examination

Video: Rhondda Tunnel Detailed Examination

In South Wales, the campaign to reopen a disused railway tunnel as a foot and cycle path has passed a crucial milestone with the completion of a detailed examination into its condition.

Connecting two former coal mining valleys, it’s hoped that Rhondda Tunnel will boost the local economy by enticing tourists and creating jobs. But for the project to move forward, its ownership has to be transferred from the Department for Transport to another statutory body. The examination, together with the repair costing being developed alongside it, will inform decision-making on the viability of the transfer.

Rhondda Tunnel was closed in 1968 and has since been buried. Despite its lengthy period of redundancy, first impressions are of a tunnel in generally good condition, defects being concentrated in wet areas and where it passes close to old mine workings.

Graeme Bickerdike
Graeme Bickerdikehttp://www.railengineer.co.uk

SPECIALIST AREAS
Tunnels and bridges, historic structures and construction techniques, railway safety


Graeme Bickerdike's association with the railway industry goes back to the mid-nineties when he was contracted to produce safety awareness videos and printed materials aimed at the on-track community. This led to him heading a stream of work to improve the way safety rules are communicated and understood - ultimately simplifying them - for which he received the IRSE’s Wing Award for Safety in 2007.

In 2005, Graeme launched a website to catalogue and celebrate some of the more notable disused railway structures which still grace Britain’s landscape. Several hundred have since had their history researched and a photographic record captured. A particular focus has been the construction methods adopted by Victorian engineers and contractors; as a result, the site has become a useful resource for those with asset management responsibilities.

Graeme has been writing for Rail Engineer for the past ten years, generally looking at civil engineering projects and associated issues. He has a deep appreciation of the difficulties involved in building tunnels and viaducts through the 19th Century, a trait which is often reflected in his stories.

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