Today I cycled 99 km with the objective of visiting the Dalhem Tunnel in Belgium.

This 144 metre tunnel under part of the town of Dalhem was constructed in 1904 and opened for use in 1905.

For many years it was used to transport coal from nearby mines to Liege and also provided passenger transport.

When coal transport ended in 1980 the line was re-purposed for tourist traffic, which came to an abrupt halt in October 1991.

As a result of a brake malfunction, the train ran away driverless until it crashed near the southern portal of the tunnel, killing 7 and injuring eleven of the passengers.

There is a memorial to this effect near the southern entrance.

All rail operations ceased that day.

The tunnel and it’s decorative facades fell into disrepair although pedestrians were still permitted until it closed completely in 2008 because it was deemed unsafe.

Ten years later a restoration programme commenced and in 2020 the fully restored tunnel was opened to pedestrian and cycle traffic.

It has become a tourist destination with story boards near the north entrance, detailing the long history of the tunnel and the former railway line.

As I started to cycle between the old railway track, the tunnel’s automatic lighting came on and it was easy to see the brick construction and the extent of the renovations.

Certainly an interesting day out on the bike.

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