Please Note: Construction at the north entrance is planned to start this week and will see the north tunnel entrance closed during this construction period.
Brockville – The refurbished Brockville Railway Tunnel opened end- to-end for resident and visitor traffic to much fanfare Saturday, August 12, 2017. The opening included an exciting parade, which followed the route used for the 1854 cornerstone-laying of the tunnel travelling from Court House Square to the tunnel’s south portal.
Well attended opening ceremonies followed the parade. The tunnel opening was part of Brockville’s Canada 150 weekend festival titled “Rails to Trails”. The festival drew huge crowds which saw over
25,000 of them tour the tunnel the Saturday and Sunday following the tunnel’s opening.
The tunnel is now open daily from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
Traffic through the tunnel by residents and tourists continues at a brisk pace with much congratulatory feedback. Jackie Hribernik of Toronto writes, “Every year, my family of 11 chooses a place to visit for our Thanksgiving weekend. This year, a radio station from Toronto posted on Facebook the Brockville Railway Tunnel and I decided that that would be a nice thing for us to see as a family. We had an amazing time! Everyone absolutely loved the tunnel, the colours, the music. A phenomenal job was done to renovate it!”. Just one of many such accolades.
The dazzling light show highlights the features of the tunnel, especially the colourful and sometimes spooky mineral deposits on the walls. The fully programmable, multi-coloured LED lighting technology is by Philips Lighting, a renowned world-wide organization. The installation and programming of the lights and sound is by David Bouwers, owner and CEO of Ford Electric, Brockville. At this time, the light show is on a 90 minute cycle with 5 minutes of white light, then 5 minutes of a colour show, interspersed with train sounds and light running the tunnel’s length at 15 minute intervals.
The same Philips Lighting technology, although in an outdoor casing, is being installed outside along the face of the tunnel’s south portal. Ford Electric indicates this lighting will be operational the week of October 22, 2017 and will highlight the tunnel’s signature south portal wall after the tunnel closes each evening.
Construction at the north entrance is planned to start the week of October 16, 2017 and will see the north tunnel entrance closed during this construction period. We will see the ramp which exits the gorge area re-graded to a constant rise and paved to OADA standards. The
south entrance will remain open until December 3, 1017 and during this construction period allowing visitors to tour the tunnel while returning back down through the tunnel.
The tunnel will be available for special events or guided tours, at a fee, even during the winter months as the tunnel does not freeze and stays at 55 degrees Fahrenheit/12 Celsius. If any organization wishes to host a special event while the tunnel is open or during the winter months, they can contact the Railway Tunnel Committee at email@example.com.
The tunnel committee remains active with short term activities including some signage and longer term Phase II planning for the old railway lands beside the north gorge. In addition work is still progressing to see a tour train operate through the tunnel beginning in the spring.
The tunnel will be closed from December 3, 2017 over the winter months and scheduled to open again the first Monday in April, 2018.
The Railway Tunnel Committee’s web site http://www.brockvillerailwaytunnel.com contains additional information.