Cycling enthusiasts in the district are calling for a mile-and-a-half long derelict train tunnel to be transformed into Europe’s longest underground cycleway.
Built in the 1880s, the Queensbury Tunnel provided a link between Queensbury and Bradford, but has been closed since the 1960s.
An online petition has been launched by the Queensbury Community Heritage Partnership, a group worried that planned repairs to the tunnel will see it permantly blocked to cyclists and horseriders.
Norah McWilliam hopes the petition will pursuade the Highways Agency to change their plans, she said: “They will put the tunnel out of use as a throughway.
“All we’re asking is that the repairs are done with concrete sleeves rather than pillars so as to leave a passage through.
“We’re not asking for anything like surfacing or lighting, which it would need eventually, but we don’t want them to scupper it for future generations - if we don’t act now, it will be too late.”
National charity Sustrans have been the lead organisation in the development of the Great Northern Railway Trail and are backing the campaign and have seen successes with a similiar project in Bath and Earlsheaton near Dewsbury. .
David Hall, Sustrans regional director for Yorkshire and Humber, said: “Queensbury Tunnel is currently the subject of extensive planned maintenance which may result in closing off any opportunity in the future to provide public access through the tunnel to the Great Northern Railway Trail from Calderdale.
“This may seem over ambitious but there are a growing number of examples in Britain where former railway tunnels have been surfaced, lit and re-opened as part of the National Cycle Network.”
The online petition can be found here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/59903