Brockville tunnel reopens on Saturday

11 August 2017

Ontario - Canada's first railroad tunnel, in Brockville, Ontario, reopens on Saturday, August 12, following restoration work converting it to a recreational space connected to the city's trail system.

At 525m long, the tunnel will feature a smooth concrete travel surface and state-of-the-art energy efficient LED lighting. A programmable light show will highlight the tunnel’s engineering, architectural, and geological features. Work started in 2016 to update the facilities and repair and stabilize brick work.

Tunnel construction started in 1854 and with some delays due to financial concerns finished six years later. According to a local committee overseeing the rehabilitation project crews used three different tunnelling methods including trenching and blasting through rock. Train operations in the tunnel ended in 1969.

The City of Brockville purchased the tunnel for CAD 1 and has done extensive work on the tunnel portals. Decades of water ingress in the closed tunnel created mineral deposits along much of the tunnel's walls.

Other tunnel features include a state-of-the art sound system; safety, security and fire protection systems; rest areas and benches; a ventilation system; wayfinding and education signage; and public wi-fi access.

A rubber-tired tour train will take visitors back and forth, through a nearby gorge and tunnel, to local parks and other waterfront and downtown attractions.