This 1,618′ tunnel lies a tangent in The Loops that features a total of four tunnels (Lower Bridal, Speedy, Lower Pine, and Byrd Ridge). Coming from Elkhorn City (about 193 miles away now), the track has just competed the first big loop and is going northeast into this, the southwestern portal. This was taken in winter, but, in summer, it’s beautiful up here.
We’re now a little over 191 miles from Elkhorn City. We’re at the southernmost point of the first of The Loops, about a quarter mile past Quinn Knob tunnel. 3rd Washburn is a curved tunnel, 915′ long. This is the western portal at 35.839883, -82.037946. The date on the lintel is 1913. Snipes is next, but, as I said, we’re heading down to Norris Lake for an interesting series of tunnels (if you’re into tunnels). We’ll get back here real soon. The tunnels will still be here.
As the CSX heads down the Blue Ridge, it makes the first Loop, curling around to come back to about 100′ away from the tangent that leads into it (but 132′ lower). Coming out of 2nd Washburn, about 1/4 mile away to the south, lies Quinn Knob tunnel, 545′ long. It carries a 1912 date on this south lintel at 35.841637, -82.041630. It’s on a slight bend, leading to 3rd Washburn, which we’ll get to shortly. Then we’ll take a break and gaze at four tunnels down on Norris Lake. Ever hear of the Knoxville, Cumberland Gap & Louisville Railroad? It was involved in the breaching of Cumberland Gap for the mighty steel rails. More later.
The 4th tunnel heading toward North Carolina in Doe River Gorge is just past a dilapidated deck truss bridge over the Doe River. It’s crossable. Careful, though. The tunnel is centered at36.250708, -82.156534 and it’s filled with water. (read the comment on this)
There are two bridges over the Doe in the Gorge. One still has a truss superstructure, but precious little else and the other is as described above.