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Get ready to see the light at Standedge Tunnel - Britain's longest and deepest canal tunnel

Revamped trip boats now have roofs with a view

Britain’s longest and deepest canal tunnel is getting ready to open for the summer visitor season.

Trips into Standedge Tunnel at Marsden get underway on March 19 with a programme of fun events planned throughout the summer.

The trip boats have been away for winter maintenance and a major revamp and the tunnel itself has also seen clearance works.

Claire Atkinson, duty manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: “Our trip boats have a completely new see-through roof and fantastic new lights to really illuminate the magnificent 200 year old tunnel.

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“Going deep into the tunnel has always been a great experience but now you’ll be able to see better than ever before how the tunnel was dug with pick, shovel and explosives for three and a quarter miles through Pennine rock.”

Over the winter, the Canal & River Trust has also been busy within the tunnel itself. This required the use of an unusual floating tractor to clear approximately nine cubic metres of sand, gravel and other debris which were swept into the tunnel by a stream that flows into the structure about 250 metres from its entrance at Diggle.

Contractors for the Canal and River Trust at work clearing a blockage from the Standedge Tunnel near Diggle using a specialist Truxor machine.

Senior project manager Mark Weatherall said: “We needed a specialist amphibious tractor, known as a Truxor, to venture inside to clear the blockage.

“Working deep underground required a specialist mining consultant. I am delighted to say that it all went smoothly and the tunnel is now ready to re-open.”

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The tunnel actually opens on Sunday with a fully booked Mother’s Day event. Then on March 13 the tunnel’s visitor centre is hosting its first ever wedding fayre organised by photographer Stevie Jay.

For more details about visiting Standedge Tunnel go to the Canal & River Trust website at www.canalrivertrust.org.uk

Legging through Standedge Tunnel, Marsden, in the 1950s.



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