Historic rail tunnel to be opened to the community
Media release | 2 July 2021
An historic railway tunnel in the Blue Mountains will soon be open to the public for the first time in 130 years following a grant to transform it into a tourist destination.
Member for Penrith Stuart Ayres announced the NSW Government had allocated a further $2.5 million from its COVID-19 stimulus program to prepare Lapstone Hill Tunnel to be used for recreational purposes by the community.
“This recent funding is on top of the $2.1 million which had already been invested in the project and will help bring to life community plans to transform the tunnel into a cycleway, walking trail and heritage tourist attraction,” Mr Ayres said.
“Once completed, the tunnel will link Glenbrook and Lapstone Villages with Leonay and Penrith’s Great River Walk.”
Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the construction work on the tunnel would also help stimulate the local economy.
“This restoration supports local jobs and the economy by providing work for tradespeople and material suppliers,” Mr Stokes said.
“The COVID-19 stimulus funding for Crown land not only helps create better public spaces such as the Lapstone Tunnel but, importantly, provides opportunities that will support local economies.”
The 660-metre tunnel was constructed in 1891 and operated as a railway tunnel before being used to store mustard gas and munitions during World War II and was then used as a mushroom farm.
Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill welcomed the announcement.
“The project will support council’s Scenic Eastern Escarpment Master Plan which focuses on the potential of nature and culture-based recreation,” Mr Greenhill said.
“Lapstone Hill Tunnel is a significant historic structure and has great potential for adaptive re-use. In particular, re-activation for public use that supports the amenity, economy and liveability of the lower Blue Mountains.”