One end of this tunnel is on the Huddersfield narrow canal at Marsden West Yorkshire, and the other at the village of Diggle in Greater Manchester district and, at the other side of the South Pennines now in Lancashire.
We spent a half day here at Tunnel End Marsden with our grandsons Benjamin & Aaron on Saturday 26/09/2015 nice bright afternoon which we all thoroughly enjoyed and well worth a visit for anyone interested in canal or infact local history, where knowledge can be expanded in the old but restored warehouse, now a visitor centre which displays artefacts of the past life on the canal together with a video and narrated history of the tunnels conception to completion.
The Standedge Tunnels are four parallel tunnels beneath the Pennines in northern England. Three are railway tunnels and the other is a canal tunnel. They are located at the Standedge (pronounced Stannige) crossing point between Marsden and Diggle, across the boundary between the West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester conurbations. Before boundary changes in 1974, both ends of the tunnel were in the West Riding of Yorkshire.
The canal tunnel is on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. It opened in 1811 and is the longest and oldest of the four and is the longest and highest canal tunnel in the United Kingdom. The first single-track railway tunnel was completed by the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) in 1848 on the line between Huddersfield and Manchester and a second parallel tunnel opened in 1871. The LNWR opened a third tunnel with double tracks in 1894. All four tunnels are linked by cross-tunnels or adits at strategic intervals, which allowed the railway tunnels to be built quickly, reducing the need for construction shafts, as waste could be removed by boat.
Of the railway tunnels, only the one built in 1894 is currently used for rail traffic. Closed in 1943, the canal tunnel was re-opened in May 2001. The Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre, at the Marsden end, is a base for boat trips into the tunnel and hosts an exhibition depicting the different crossings.
The Standedge Tunnel is the longest, deepest and highest canal tunnel in Britain. It is 5,500 yards (5,000 m) long, 636 feet (194 m) underground at its deepest point, and 643 feet (196 m) above sea level.
Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre
The Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre at the Marsden end of the tunnel is located in the former warehouse used for transshipment of goods from canal barge to packhorse between 1798 when the canal reached Marsden and 1811 when the tunnel opened. The centre contains exhibitions on the history of the tunnels, the canal tunnel’s recent restoration and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.
Tunnel End Cottages which formerly housed canal maintenance workers, houses a cafe and the booking office for 30-minute boat trips into the tunnel. The trips use electric tugs that push a passenger-carrying barge.
The visitor centre is about ½ a mile (0.8 km) west of Marsden railway station which can be reached via the towpath of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal which runs adjacent to the station. Adjacent to the railway station is the headquarters of the National Trust‘s Marsden Moor Estate which includes a public exhibition, Welcome to Marsden, that gives an overview of the area and its transport history
A leisurely walk along the canal toe path will take the visitor to the village of Slaithwaite “locally called Slowit” where the canal drops via locks to a lower level and under another pack horse bridge to the village.