Union Road, Tabaquite, Trinidad and Tobago
About Knollys Tunnel
In the era of trains in Trinidad, Knollys Tunnel, located in Tabaquite, central Trinidad, was a magnificent feat of engineering.
The 660 ft. long tunnel was built to go through one of the hills in the Central Range, to link the Rio Claro countryside with Port-of-Spain. This was to facilitate the transport of cocoa, coffee and other agricultural produce from the rich Brasso-Caparo Valley to the capital’s port. The construction, which began in 1896, took two years to complete and utilized the skills of over 200 workers. The workmen had to dig the tunnel by hand due to a ridge of high rock that was preventing the progress of the train line.
Officially opened on August 20th 1898 by its name-sake Sir Clement Courtenay Knolly, the acting Colonial Governor of Trinidad and Tobago, Knollys Tunnel remained operational until 30th August 1965 when the last train rolled through it.
Twenty-six years later in August 1991, the then Honourable Minister of the Environment and National Service at the time, Dr. Lincoln Myers, highlighted the historic importance of the tunnel and reopened it as a national heritage site registered with the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. The clearing of the tunnel, as well as partial restoration works were carried out, which saw both of the original deteriorated commemorative plaques being removed from the tunnel entrances and replaced with replicas. Above and around the tunnel, the surroundings were landscaped; carat sheds and a bathroom facility were constructed for visitors to come and enjoy.
Once thought to be the longest man-made tunnel in the Caribbean, Knollys Tunnel remains an attraction to many who wish to experience traversing the tunnel. From one end of the tunnel, visitors can see the light on the other side. The drive through the tunnel requires vehicles’ headlights on the highest brightness setting because the inside of the tunnel is almost pitch black. Visitors may drive through the tunnel and briefly sound their horns to experience the sounds of flapping wings and clicking noises of thousands of fruit bats that have made their home within the comforting darkness of Knollys Tunnel.
Best time to visit? The dry season, of course, from around February to May/June when the grass is green, the sun is out and there’s no mud underfoot.
Enjoy the sights and sounds of our virtual tour!
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