Since March 30th 2009, boats have been allowed to pass through Standedge Tunnel under their own power. (Previous to that they were towed through in convoy by an electric tug.)
Passage will take place on three days a week - Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Three boats will be allowed into the tunnel each day, at 45 minute intervals to prevent boaters being affected by the diesel fumes of other boats.
Each boat will carry a Canal and River Trust "chaperone", a qualified tunnel pilot who will supervise the passage and offer advice. The pilot would be able to steer the boat through tricky sections if the boater wished but the boater may steer the boat the whole way if preferred.
Boaters wishing to use the tunnel are asked to book a passage at least 3 days in advance by phoning 01782 785703 or 01484 844298. You should phone at least 24 hours in advance to confirm that you are on your way to the tunnel. Because of the limited number of passages available it is advisable to book a slot as far in advance as possible, but you should be aware that there may be a charge if you don't show up (unless you have phoned to cancel 48 hours or more in advance).
Pets will be allowed to remain on board but must be restrained (i.e. caged or tied) so that there is no possibility of them becoming alarmed and causing a distraction or safety problem.
Boaters will be issued with hard hat and life jacket to be worn at all times in the tunnel by anyone outside on the boat and each boat will be issued with additional lighting for navigation.
Boats will only be allowed into the tunnel if they are within the specified craft dimensions (basically not more than 70 ft length, 6'10" beam, 3' 3" draught - a diagram showing the exact dimensions can be seen here). Fibreglass boats and petrol engined boats are not permitted through the tunnel.
A new and improved communications system, which will allow the CRT "chaperones" to stay in constant contact with the office base, is not yet available. Until this is in place, the boat will checked at some of the adits (cross-passages through to the old railway tunnel) by a CRT staff member shadowing the boats.
Boaters will be able to work their own way up the locks at Marsden and Diggle. Please check the CRT web page for any times when the lock flights may be locked.
Important note: This information was correct on 27th Aug 2010. Please check with CRT or visit www.standedge.co.uk to see whether any changes have been made since then. Please also check for times and days of operation. On that site you can download BW's Standedge Customer Guidelines and HNC Navigation Notes.