1. ITV Report

Historic Rhondda Tunnel to be inspected for reopening

The Rhondda tunnel has been closed since 1968. Photo: Stephen Mackey

Engineers will start an inspection of Wales' longest tunnel to see if it can be reopened as a tourist attraction.

The Rhondda Tunnel has been closed since 1968. But a local society has been trying to get it reopened.

The Rhondda Tunnel Society recently announced that they had been contacted by the Highways Agency Historic Railways Estate, who said they would inspect the site.

The agency has contracted construction and engineering company Hammond ECS of Aberdare to undertake the inspection of the 3,443 yards of the tunnel.

It will take inspectors three days to walk the length of the tunnel looking at its structure and checking CO2 levels.

The tunnel was once used to connect the coal fields in the Rhondda to Swansea bay. Credit: Stephen Mackey

Two or three people from Hammonds and two or three from Mines Rescue will be walking the length of the tunnel across three days looking at the safety of the structure to see what it's like after 47 years and to see if it is possible to re-open the tunnel. As well as the structural integrity they will be checking for such things as sulphuric acid which can occur in stagnant water and to check CO2 levels to make sure it's breathable down there.

– Stephen Mackey, Rhondda Tunnel Society chairman

The project has received backing from many politicians who say the reopening of the Rhondda tunnel could lead to many exciting opportunities.

Hoteliers and businesses have also already expressed an interest in the project with the aim of introducing tourism to the area.