My buddy always suspected that this was Swede tunnel (also called Beverly tunnel, according to Ed Wolfe in his book on the Interstate Railroad), located at 36.919845, -82.449835 on the Guest River Gorge Trail. I thought that Swede was the tunnel located in Coeburn (see that post), but, thanks to a comment from a viewer, I was corrected. I think this tunnel, the only one on the Guest River Gorge Trail, is about 200′ long. This is looking down the trail.
Located in Scott County VA, where the Clinch River makes a wide bend, these two tunnels bypass it by cutting through two close ridges. The North Twin (308′) is 71.26 miles south of Elkhorn City (quickly vanishing in the distance, well over the horizon, lost in Kentucky). The South Twin is just a few feet beyond the North. If you were standing between them, you’d be at 36.709679, -82.646909 and an elevation of 1343′. South Twin is just 236′, a mere slip of a tunnel. The first picture is the south portal of South Twin, looking north to the North Twin. The second picture is the north portal of North Twin, looking south to the north portal of South Twin. They’re both dated 1912.
Here we are a little over 70 miles south of Elkhorn City at Starnes tunnel, 517′ portal to portal. This is the south portal, 1911 date, looking north. Again, it’s a horseshoe cross section. The next picture is from inside the tunnel looking north to what is known as the 3rd Clinch River bridge, a 372′ through rivet truss (according to James Goforth). Calvin Sneed tells that the community near here, Starnes Slant, got the name when the crews were laying the railbed around a curve and kept fighting landslides, so the “slanted” the hillside to provide stability. Hence, Starnes Slant. Hold your breath, the Twins are coming up next, then it’s on to Clinchport tunnel.
Heading south, we’ve gone from Shannon tunnel in Russell County past the Guest River Gorge, past the old Miller Yard (it was quite a place in its day), to Townes tunnel in Scott County. It’s 1,098′ long. It’s at 36.851101, -82.436563. This view looks northerly, toward Miller Yard. This is an unusual horseshoe shaped tunnel, but the shape is related to the stress lines along the line of the tunnel. There was a train collision in this tunnel back in the day. It’s said you can still see the scars of the wreck inside the tunnel. I didn’t check, sorry. Starnes is next, then The Twins.
We’re now 47.6 miles from Elkhorn City, between St. Paul and Carfax VA in Russell County at 36.890949, -82.354993. The first picture is the horseshoe-shaped EC side portal of Shannon tunnel, 820′ in length, cutting through a ridge in an oxbow of the Clinch River. The horseshoe cross-section is deliberate, required, research tells me, by ground conditions in the area. This tunnel is not dated, but there is an impolite reference to CSX spraypainted on the lintel. The next picture is of the south (actually west) portal of the tunnel taken from the 300′ or so trestle that takes the CSX over the Clinch River on to Townes tunnel.