I’ll be damned if I didn’t miss a tunnel in all that scouting along the CSX line between Erwin and Altepass. My buddy called me a couple of days ago and said he’s spotted a tunnel on the topo that we hadn’t been to…it was on the Toe River, just west of Loafers Glory NC. I went up on Google Earth and located it at 36.00598, -82.23743. It’s in Goforth’s book at 163.11 miles south of Elkhorn City. I’ve looked at that list a dozen times and completely missed this tunnel. The tunnel is 304′ long on a curve and completely unfinished, except for some supporting concrete on the left of the south portal. Strong stone there, for sure. Here’s the south portal and the mile marker just before the south portal.
According to an old Bob Lehone video that chronicled the UP 3985 Challenger steam Locomotive’s visit to the CC&O in 1992 the reason for the concrete supports at the portal is that in the 1940’s or 50’s , an Alco Challenger clipped the portal as it came through this tunnel.
This comes from the video “The Clinch field, Santa, and the 676”. Although I though this tunnel was in Virginia.
Great site, by the way!
Thank you for the compliment! For those of you who are interested, click here for a look at an Alco Challenger locomotive. I’ll see if I can locate that video (it might be on youtube – seems that everything else is) and link to it.
Checking Google and youtube didn’t turn up anything. That film may be over at the Carter Railroad Museum at ETSU, though.
been a few months since I’ve visited this site. I had the video a while back. It came from The Bristol Public Library and that’s where I saw the clip on this tunnel and the supporting concrete.
For some reason, these days I’m obsessed with The Clinch Mountain Tunnel over at Speers Ferry, Va. Don’t know why ,but I love visiting your site.
The Clinch Mountain tunnel is interesting from both portals. The Speers Ferry portal is subject to rock falls and has a pretty well designed fencing arrangement, with an alerting system to notify the RR if any rocks get through. On the other side, there’s that old sand processing plant in ruins. They brought sand down from somewhere up on the mountain, cleaned it and sent it to Corning, I think.
I wouldn’t ever want to walk the tunnel, though. It’s scary long.
That’s along tunnel, for sure.
You can imagine digging these tunnels with only dynamite and manual labor. It was a tough job!
I know. American ingenuity at it’s best too. A lot of it immigrant labor too. I’ve got one more question ( for now). How many of these tunnels have you “walked” and if, so did you ever happen upon a train going through one?
We’re always VERY VERY careful when it comes to trains. I have gone through a couple of medium-length (1/2 mile or less) tunnels when it was absolutely necessary to get to another tunnel, but only after I’d satisfied myself that we were in between scheduled trains. I’ve never been in a tunnel when a train came through. I’ve been in a tunnel just after a train has passed and even that was unpleasant because of the lingering smoke from the diesel engines. Don’t want to mess with trains.
Well. I’m not going to walk through any of them, but I will add. I love your site, and hope that others do as well! Now, I’ll hush and let others converse with you, Bob. Keep up the great work!
A smile and a thank you!