South East Wales

Rhondda railway tunnel survey work gets under way

Inside the tunnel Image copyright Rhondda Tunnel Society
Image caption It is hoped the tunnel will boost tourism if it can be reopened for walkers and cyclists

Survey work has begun at a disused Rhondda railway tunnel, with plans to reopen it to walkers and cyclists.

In January, the Rhondda Tunnel Society was given a £10,000 grant from the Welsh Government to carry out an initial "tapping survey" on the tunnel, which runs from Blaencwm to Blaengwynfi in Neath Port Talbot.

Experts began work on the 3km-long (1.8 mile) tunnel at 08:00 BST on Wednesday.

The work is expected to last two weeks.

Steve Mackey, chairman of the Rhondda Tunnel Society, said it was an "exciting day".

He said specialist works and railway contractors Hammond ECS had started in Blaengwynfi by working to remove a concrete cap so they can begin an "exploratory drill" inside the tunnel.

"The Rhondda Tunnel Society was formed in 2014 and this is probably one of the most important visible signs of [progress]," he added.

"I'm quite excited. I came here at half past seven this morning."

Image caption The tunnel, the longest railway tunnel in Wales, was filled in after cuts to the UK rail network in the 1960s

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