Thornton to Queensbury – The Great Northern Trail

Thornton Primary, previously Royd Mount Middle School, now stands round about where Thornton Station used to be.

Years ago, when I attended Royd Mount the access to the viaduct was prohibited. That didn’t stop us sneaking over the fence and making the dangerous walk across all 840 ft of it.

These days you don’t have to risk your life. Thanks to Sustrans The Great Northern Railway Trail is now being refurbished and repaired to be made in to a cycle and walking route. The preferred end game would be to have a predominantly car free route established all the way from Ingrow to Halifax.

At present only the short route in Cullingworth is complete and the Thornton to Queensbury tunnel trail. Plans are underway to join them together and to also do necessary repairs to Queensbury tunnel to add much more to this already fantastic, historic walk.

The line closed permanently in 1965 and has since been left to rack and ruin. Refurbishment and repair to the trail started in the early 2000’s to make it part of the cycle network.

The Queensbury tunnel should ultimately be part of this trail, however its fate lies in the hands of Bradford Council. It will cost £3 million to fill in the tunnel but only £2.8 million to make it safe for memorable walks and historic talks.

The walk starts at Thornton Primary and continues over Thornton viaduct, the views are astonishing and it really is wonderful to wander across where giant steam trains once chugged.

There’s lots to see on the way and beautiful scenery to take in. The pathway takes you past a farm where you can say hello to lots of chickens, ducks, a peacock and even a friendly farmyard cat.

Once you reach the entrance to the now closed Queensbury tunnel it’s easy to imagine what a great addition to the trail it will be if work can go ahead. The tunnel is a magnificent piece of construction which took 4 years to build. It truly would be an enormous tragedy to see the tunnel filled when instead it could become the longest underground cycle way in Europe and stand as a wonderful monument to the 10 men whose lives were lost during construction.

You can help by signing the petition to get Queensbury tunnel repaired to its former glory

After our 2-3 mile walk we were pretty famished. The Great Northern Emporium is just across the road from where started our walk and so we called in there for sandwiches and milkshakes.

Another wonderful adventure had, pretty much on our doorstep 🙂

Click here to see my short video of the tunnel entrance.

Sign the petition


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