Campaigners fighting to save Queensbury Tunnel have released a computer-generated film of what the historic site could look like if it was transformed.

The trip offers a sense of what the former railway tunnel would look and feel like if it was reopened as a cycle path.

The group says work to close the 1.4-mile long tunnel - parts of which are in poor condition - could begin next summer.

It's thought Highways England’s Historical Railways Estate, the tunnel’s current custodian, would carry out the work, likely to involve inserting concrete plugs in both entrances and backfilling its ventilation shafts, at an estimated cost of £3m.

But the society wants to see the tunnel transformed into an asset which could form part of a future cycle path network connecting Halifax to Bradford and Keighley.

Development of the film involved building a 3D model of Queensbury Tunnel, accurately to scale, and then plotting a course through it at a realistic pace for a cyclist.

To create the final version, more than 9,000 images then had to be rendered, each one taking between four and ten minutes.

Norah McWilliam, who leads the Queensbury Tunnel Society, said: “For the past three years we’ve been promoting a vision of what the tunnel could be like if restored, but without people really being able to visualise it. Now they can. Sadly the current direction of travel is towards abandonment. We believe that’s the wrong direction because it involves wasting £3 million of public money."

She urged Bradford Council to “seize the opportunity” and said the group would work “constructively and collaboratively” with it. 

A Highways England spokesperson said it remained “fully open” to the idea of transferring ownership of the tunnel to another public body.
They added: “We would also look to offer the new owner the estimated £3 million funding we would need to spend on closing the tunnel. If a transfer opportunity cannot be found then we will begin work on closing the tunnel in the summer of 2018.”

A spokesperson for Bradford Council said it is committed to the improvement of cycling infrastructure in the district and it is investigating whether the tunnel can be brought back into use.

They said a "true understanding" of the costs involved would need to be gained before a decision is made.