Canada’s First Railway Tunnel is now open to the public
A huge crowd turned up on Saturday, August 12th to celebrate the grand re-opening of Canada’s Oldest Railway Tunnel here in Brockville, and to be the first people to walk the full length of the tunnel after the opening. Outfitted with a multi-coloured, programmable LED light show by Philips Lighting that can be synced to music or sounds of a train passing though, they also highlight the natural geological formations and man-made elements of the tunnel. This experience is one that is already shocking visitors and locals alike and impressing everyone who goes through, it is definitely not one to be missed!
After our staff had a chance to experience the tunnel for themselves, we talked with the committed volunteers who made the re-opening possible to get some of our most pressing questions answered:
What are the mineral deposits?’
Limestone. The softer looking part is limestone that has disintegrated over time, seeped through cracks above and re-solidified
Why does the tunnel drip?
Because the tunnel is underground, groundwater naturally seeps into the tunnel year round. Consider wearing a hat, jacket, or rain poncho (FYI: You can purchase a rain poncho for $2 from the Railway Tunnel Information Centre on King Street)
What are the square cut outs for?
Beams and scaffolding could be inserted for workers to stand on to be able to fix the tunnel
What are the tall shafts in the tunnel for?
Exhaust outlet for train fumes: some could be 50 feet high
In which year was the railway tunnel built?
How tall is the tunnel?
14 feet, 9 inches
How long is the railway tunnel?
What was the last year the tunnel was in use?
Under which famous Brockville building does the tunnel go?
What is the importance of the tunnel?
It is Canada’s First Railway Tunnel
How much money did the City of Brockville invest in the original tunnel construction?
On which day did the construction of the tunnel begin?
September 16, 1854
When did the first train pass through the tunnel?
December 31, 1860
How did Blockhouse Island get connected to the mainland?
Rock from the tunnel construction project
Can we skate through the tunnel in the Winter?
Unfortunately the tunnel will not be open to the public in the Winter months unless for special occasions.
An interesting fact about the tunnel is that it remains the same temperature year round and so it does not freeze! It feels cool in the Summer and warm in the Winter but maintains a consistent temperature throughout.
How much does it cost to walk through the tunnel?
Admission is FREE, there is no charge to visit the tunnel. If you enjoy your visit and would like to make a donation, there is a donation box near the north portal to help support the ongoing maintenance and future site development.
When can I visit the tunnel?
The tunnel will be open during daylight hours and locked each night from mid-May to mid-October.
The committee has confirmed that until September 30, 2017 they tunnel will be guaranteed to be open from 9am-9pm daily.
For more information about the Brockville Railway Tunnel, please visit brockvillerailwaytunnel.com or stop by their information centre at 66 King Street West, Brockville (Tuesdays through Saturday, 12-4pm)