1 vote

CN - St. Clair Tunnel (1891)


St Clair River Tunnel Postcard

ca. 1907, prior to electrification of the tunnel. At that time, trains were pulled through the tunnel by camelback 0-10-0 steam locomotives that were bi-directional. In this postcard, one of the 0-10-0 locos emerges from the Pot Huron end of the tunnel.

Scan of Public Domain Postcard

View this photo at img.photobucket.com

BH Photo #120664

Street Views 


Tunnel under St. Clair River on Canadian National Railroad in Port Huron
Port Huron, St. Clair County, Michigan
Closed to all traffic
Built 1888-1891; Electrified 1907-1908; Electrification removed 1958: Tube sealed 1994
- Joseph Hobson (Engineer)
- Grand Trunk Railroad (GT)
- Grand Trunk Western Railroad (GTW)
"The St. Clair Tunnel was the first full-sized subaqueous tunnel built in North America. Joseph Hobson, the Chief Engineer, successfully combined three significant new technologies -- a tunnel shield driven by hydraulic rams; a cast iron tunnel lining; and the use of a compressed air environment. This tunnel eliminated a major bottleneck in the rail transportation system linking the American midwest with its eastern markets."

--Dr. Charles K. Hyde, Department of History
Wayne State University
for Federal Highway Administration, Michigan DOT and HAER
June 1990
Length of largest span: 6,026.0 ft. (1.1 mi.)
Total length: 11,810.0 ft. (2.2 mi.)
Deck width: 20.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1970
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.95969, -82.42331   (decimal degrees)
42°57'35" N, 82°25'24" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/383911/4757321 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Port Huron
Inventory numbers
NRHP 70000684 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 37125 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • April 8, 2014: Updated by Luke Harden: Added categories "Grand Trunk Railroad", "Grand Trunk Western Railroad", "Railroad"
  • August 11, 2008: New photo from J.R. Manning
  • August 10, 2008: Added by J.R. Manning

Related Bridges 



St. Clair Tunnel
Posted October 17, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Because this is an international railroad tunnel, you can only get so many good views of the structure without attracting the authorities. The best/closest views seem to be from Sarnia, Ontario from Vidal Street Overpass. Here is the view from there: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/2675517

The tunnel is also visible from 16th Street in Port Huron, Michigan, but the entrance is further away from that street.

St. Clair Tunnel
Posted October 15, 2010, by D. Hillers (incrosscircle1 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

this tunnel might have been sealed, but CNs' main lines to chicago through Flint and Lansing run trains like crazy through it's replacement. could we have some pics of the new tunnel?