Hadrian's Cycleway

The Tyne Tunnels

There are several tunnels under the River Tyne
but only three are for public use.

A19(T) Road Tunnel
Pedestrian Tunnel

Cycle Tunnel

All three run between Jarrow and Howdon.

Tyne Road Tunnel (1967)

A very rare picture as there is only one vehicle in view !!!!

Cyclists are not permitted in this tunnel

The Tyne Road Tunnel was opened in 1967 and was designed for 24,000 vehicles a day, but now carries up to 36,000 vehicles a day. The tunnel is two way and a major bottleneck on the A19(T) road.

A second crossing is planned and unlike the present bored tunnel, the new one - if consent is given - will be an immersed tube design. This will involve digging an enormous trench across the river into which the four precast concrete tubes will be joined end to end
to form the tunnel under the riverbed. This will then be covered over and huge trenches dug on each bank to connect the road to the tunnel.

The present tunnel will then carry north bound traffic whilst the new tunnel south bound traffic.

This will have an effect on the route of the cycle routes during construction - there will be a short detour around the workings for Hadrian's Cycleway - C2C between the A19(T) road bridge and A187 East Howdon Bypass.

Tyne Pedestrian & Cycle Tunnels (1951)

On the 24th of July 2001 there was a civil ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Tyne Pedestrian and Cycle Tunnel the plaque above was unveiled.


North Entrance showing
Escalator House (low round building ) with
Elevator (lift) house in the left background


The longest single escalators in Europe were installed to take pedestrians and cyclists from beneath the Tyne 85ft up to the surface.

A project is in hand to automate these elevators which will start up as you approach and stop when you reach the other end and get off. Due for completion mid 2004.

There are elevators (lifts) each side which can take at a squeeze three bikes plus riders.


When the idea of these tunnels was conceived, it was to bring together North and South Tyneside with a pedestrian and cycle tunnel to run under the river making it easy to commute between the communities of Jarrow and Howdon.

After it was first opened on the 24 July 1951 there where over a thousand people a day using it in order to get to work, in recent times that number has reduced to a couple of hundred or so a day, but the numbers are slowly rising again.

Very little has changed in the tunnel since it was built, almost all of the tiles that you can see along its 900ft long length are original.

Work on the tunnel was about to start in 1939 but the Second World War put a stop to it and work finally began in 1947. Charles Brand & Son Ltd completed tunnelling in 1949 but it was not opened by Alfred Barnes M.P. (Minister of Transport) until 24 July 1951.

Whilst digging the tunnel they had to deal with the old Jarrow and Howdon colliery mine workings.

Today it is an important link in the
National Cycle Network
Between NCN 14 and NCN 72

The twin bores from the bottom of the north side
escalators showing the
Pedestrian Tunnel on Left
Cycle Tunnel on Right.

The tunnel is made up of lined cast iron segments.
The pedestrian tunnel is 10ft 6" in diameter and the cycle tunnel is 12-ft in diameter.
Lined with ceramic tiles.

An automatic device counts every
cyclist and pedestrian using these tunnels.


The tunnels and entrance buildings are monitored by CCTV 24 hours a day from the
Tyne Tunnels Control Room along with regular security patrols. Regular cleaning is carried out
The escalators are protected by "state of art" fire detection systems with a zoned fire sprinker system.

The tunnels are open 24 hours a day - seven days a week.

From August 9th BOTH lifts will be out of service for renewals.
ONLY the UP escalator on the Jarrow side is operating.
The other three have failed and beyond repair.

A shuttle bus service via the road tunnel is now operating between
08:00am to 6:00 pm every 30 mins.
The Jarrow lift is due back in service Nov. 15th and the Howdon lift by end of 2010
It is hoped to replace the escalators with inclined lifts in 2011.
For more information log onto:

The Tyne Pedestrian & Cycle Tunnel website

At the north side two new sculptures are now in position
"Echo" and "The ones that got away"
Click here for photos and more information about these new artworks.

To contact the Tunnel Control Room ring (0191) 262 4451