IN MARCH 1963, British Rail chairman Richard Beeching published his report, The Restructuring of British Railways, outlining plans to rip up more than 5,000 miles of track and close more than 2,000 stations.

Dozens of branch lines were declared surplus to requirements and the network carved up in the name of efficiency. People didn’t need trains when they had a car – the railway was a relic of Britain’s industrial past.

The country is still living with the consequences of this blinkered thinking more than 50 years later.

Now another part of Bradford’s railway heritage is under threat.

The Queensbury Tunnel was built by the Great Northern Railway to connect Holmfield and Queensbury. It opened in 1878, closed on 28 May 1956 but remained viable until the track was lifted in 1963.

Since then the tunnel has fallen into disrepair. Nevertheless there is still enough left for it to become a cycle path connecting Halifax with Bradford and Keighley.

Before the plan can go ahead Bradford Council will have to take ownership of the crumbling tunnel from Highways England and that looks like a big ask in these times of local authority austerity.

But when these things are gone they are gone forever. How we wish thousands of miles of railway track hadn’t been ripped up at Beeching’s behest because the country can’t afford to relay it now.

We hope a way can be found to preserve the Queensbury Tunnel. Future generations may not forgive us for allowing it to be filled in.