Cumberland Gap tunnel (the old one)

Blogging the Railroad Tunnels

This is the last tunnel on the line coming out of Knoxville.  As I’ve mentioned before, the Knoxville Cumberland Gap Louisville railroad company blasted out this tunnel in 1888-1889, with a grade going up to the more or less center of the tunnel on both sides, so the cross-section of the mountain would reveal a tunnel that looks like an inverted “V”.  Smoke had a tendency to collect at the top and make breathing difficult for crews and passengers. Then, to add to the woes, the tunnel collapsed on July 4, 1894, and again in 1896.  Engineers didn’t like to go into the tunnel, so they’d push a string into the tunnel and have another locomotive pull it out from the other portal.  Passengers had to take a wagon ride through the gap.  This wasn’t a good situation.  When L&N gained control of the tunnel (KCGL had gone bust in…

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