You know about Natural Tunnel, right? If not, here’s the Wiki. And here’s a picture of same, complete with the N&S track that’s been there for over a hundred years:
But, wait! There’s more! Because, in railroad design thinking, it’s usually better, more costly, but better to ram through than go around, there’s another tunnel just a little bit south of the main, naturally formed (of course) one. Here ’tis (this is the northern portal…(kinda looks like they just sawed through the rock, no?):
This is a long one. It’s 4,688′ or so and centered at 37.152524, -81.693367, near Bandy VA. Interesting design on this portal. Since I’d just made a production of sliding on my belly down the 30′ or so embankment coming up here, I wasn’t in the mood to trudge over to the other portal to check it. You can, if you want to.
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.