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Video: Catesby Tunnel

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After 54 years of redundancy, one of the Great Central Railway’s most iconic structures is on the brink of a new life as an aerodynamic testing facility.

Catesby Tunnel, which is 1.7 miles in length, was built from nine shafts at a remarkably quick average rate of 110 yards per month. It was constructed to placate a local landowner who didn’t want the view from his stately pile to be blighted by belching locomotives.

Throughout this year, work to repurpose the structure has been underway, with much of it focused on repairs to the track drainage and managing water ingress.

The £13M facility is expected to open next spring and could bring more than 200 skilled jobs when fully complete. Members of the public will be offered access to the tunnel on Sundays for cycling.