Metro Vice-Chair and Kirklees councillor, Eric Firth was among the first to pedal through the newly-re-opened Earlsheaton railway tunnel this week.
After several months’ work, which was part funded by Metro through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF), the disused railway in Dewsbury has been reopened as a greenway for walkers and cyclists between Dewsbury and Ossett. It now forms part of the National Cycle Network 699.
“I am pleased that Metro has been able to help make this project possible and increase people’s opportunities for cycling and walking,” said Cllr Firth. “It will provide people with easy access to Dewsbury town centre on foot and by bike, and the fact it is lit around the clock will help encourage people to use it through the day and throughout the year.
Cllr Firth said that projects such as the Earlsheaton tunnel helped achieve the aim of Metro’s go:cycling project which aims to get more people cycling, more often, more safely.
go:cycling is a joint project between Metro and the five West Yorkshire districts together to promote cycling across West Yorkshire. Initiatives include one to one and group cycle training, bike maintenance courses and group rides.
Kirklees Council’s Project Champion, Cllr Paul Kane describe the tunnel as architecturally-inspiring and said it provided a vital link for walkers and cyclists to make every-day journeys between the Earlsheaton and Chickenley areas of Dewsbury and Dewsbury town centre.
Sustrans’ Regional Director for Yorkshire and the Humber, David Hall, said: “Walking and cycling for everyday journeys is great for our health, the environment and it’s fun too. These new links are going to make a real difference to how people make their everyday journeys in Dewsbury.
In addition to the LSTF funding, which is part of a Department for Transport initiative, the Earlsheaton Tunnel project has been paid for through money from the Big Lottery Fund, through Sustrans’ “Connect2” project and Kirklees Council’s Local Transport Plan allocation.