Cycle Tunnels

Old rail tunnels occur on many Rails-to-trails cycleway around the world.  Most are quite short, but there are a few of considerable length.  Click the Other Tunnels gallery link on the right for some examples. 

The problems, opportunities, issues, and benefits of opening tunnels up to trail use are common and were the subject of an American study in April 2001 - Tunnels on Trails; A Study of 78 Tunnels on 36 Trails in the United States.

The conclusion of the study is relevant to this project:


Many people recognize the tremendous benefits that an open tunnel provides by linking important destinations. Yet for some, tunnels still evoke images of dark places where vagrants linger or illegal activities take place. The results of this study demonstate that contrary to the negative expectations of some residents, tunnels do not impose undue safety or financial burdens on local communities and that, in fact, tunnels on trails are quite safe.

Of the 78 tunnels included in this study, crimes reported in or around the tunnels were extremely rare. The results suggest that with proper attention to design and management, tunnels become tremendous community assets that encourage and safely accommodate greater trail use. Equally impressive is the degree to which tunnels facilitated non-motorized transportation. Managers reported that tunnels make bicycle and pedestrian networks equitable by creating routes that are direct and avoid steep hills making them easy for everyone - including children, the elderly, and people with disabilities - to use. They generate community pride and understanding of local history and draw increased trail user traffic with its associated economic benefits. Although it may seem daunting to reopen or build a tunnel, the dozens of open tunnels around the country demonstrate their great potential to link communities and help create sustainable transportation networks.