Backing up a little bit to St. Paul VA, this is Craigan Tunnel (you can’t see the sign on the right side of the portal very well, but it states the tunnel name as “Creagan”) at 36.902711, -82.328600. The tunnel is about 900′ or so long. The date on the tunnel lintel is 1905. It was part of the Interstate line then, now it’s a N&S property. There was a huge fire in this tunnel in September of 1903 that required the St. Paul fire department, along with others, to build dams at either portal of the tunnel and pump it full of water. We started to walk through this tunnel, but decided not to. Good plan, that. Just as we climbed over the tunnel, a N&S double locomotive coal train came rolling through. And we’ll be rolling back to the CSX to Speers Ferry tunnel shortly.
We’re at the 78 mile marker (as you can see) now, at the natural portal of Bald Knob tunnel. The tunnel centers at 36.6666080, -82.750432 at about 1400′ elevation. It’s 453′ long and is about 1900′ southwest of Clinchport tunnel. While the former Clinchfield line bored through Bald Knob, the N&S (old Southern) ran their line closer to the Clinch River and avoided having to tunnel. I speculate that the unusual configuration of the rock, the near vertical face on the left) around the tunnel entrance precluded finishing it off with concrete. This is looking roughly south.
We’re a little more than 77.5 miles south of Elkhorn City at Clinchport tunnel, actually near Boulder VA. The railroad here crosses SR 644 on a 1929 overpass (shown). Tunnel is at 36.671713, -82.745216 and is 637′ long. The first picture is looking south and the second picture is looking north with the lintel of the tunnel clearly showing the 1913 date. This was two years before the Clinchfield Railroad was officially completed.