8 votes

RI - Vale Tunnel


Southern Portal

Photo taken by Joshua Collins in November 2009


BH Photo #149650



Tunnel on the Rock Island Trail under a hill and Bannister Road between Raytown and Lees Summit in Kansas City
Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri
Railroad line inactive, open as rail trail
Built 1903-4; abandoned 1980 with the bankruptcy of the Rock Island Railroad, converted to trail use 2019
- J.L. Campbell (Chief Engineer)
- Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad (CRIP (1866-1920); RI (1920-1975) ROCK (1975-1980))
Total length: 446.0 ft.
Also called
Valley of Vale Tunnel
CRI&P Vale Tunnel
RI - Vale Tunnel
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.94770, -94.43537   (decimal degrees)
38°56'52" N, 94°26'07" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/375614/4311952 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Lees Summit
Land survey
T. 48 N., R. 32 W., Sec. 27
Inventory number
BH 21722 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • February 23, 2021: Updated by John Marvig: added engineer
  • August 27, 2018: Updated by John Marvig: Added category "Bore Tunnel"
  • November 22, 2009: New photos from Joshua Collins
  • January 10, 2009: Updated by Max Johnson: Was actually built sometime around 1904
  • April 24, 2008: Updated by Max Johnson
  • January 30, 2006: Posted photos from Dale Rush

Related Bridges 



RI - Vale Tunnel
Posted June 28, 2020, by Sharon Clay (Sharonclay022 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Here is a picture of the Vale Tunnel about 1 year after the trail opening.

RI - Vale Tunnel
Posted January 8, 2019, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

Looking north. The trail is finished from the tunnel into Lee's Summit.


RI - Vale Tunnel
Posted June 27, 2018, by Mr Kelly McClanahan

Work has progressed. Old line is being converted into a rail trail. For the first time in years it can be seen from 98th Street. Reports have the tunnel still in fairly good condition. First section of trail is supposed to be open by fall of 2018.

Vale Tunnel
Posted October 13, 2016, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

As of late September 2016 there has been machinery used to cut a path on the west edge of the rail bed. You can now walk along the track although it's still rough with badly chewed up stumps and shredded wood.

Vale Tunnel
Posted May 28, 2016, by Kelly McClanahan

At this time the tunnel is un accessible, there is simply too much over growth. When I last drove by the crossing to the south, I could barely even make out the tracks. However, the line is now owed by Jackson County, which intends on turning it into part of the Missouri Rock Island Trail. The line soon will be cleared and grubbed, and then the tunnel will be able to be seen once again.

Vale Tunnel
Posted April 24, 2012, by Donna Sattley (dsattley [at] aol [dot] com)

I think that this is a photo of the Vale tunnel back in 1914..I think this is the tunnel because grandfather worked for the Rock Island RR and they were living at Vale where this photo was taken. He was a foreman.

Vale Tunnel
Posted December 17, 2011, by Dottie P. (pratt_dottie [at] yahoo [dot] com)

The engraving on the south side of the tunnel read as: TUNNEL NO. 4 1903-4

Vale Tunnel
Posted August 30, 2011, by Chris P

I'm not sure how much of the trailwork is done, but Ameren filed with the surface transportaion commitee to "abandon" some of the line, to allow the state to build the trail directly in place of the rail line just as the Katy was done. This is the nail in the coffin to the rail line. There is a presentation detailing the trail at:


Vale Tunnel
Posted June 30, 2011, by Garrett Corliss (hugeroblox [at] hotmail [dot] com)

The tunnel was built

1904-1906. It took so long because they had 1 labour strike that delayed constution 6 months.

Vale Tunnel
Posted March 20, 2010, by Michael Gillespie (TheRiverWriter [at] aol [dot] com)

The Katy Trail Extension will not necessarily go through the tunnel. The extension is only funded from Windsor to Pleasant Hill. Also, Ameren, the company that owns the abandoned RI right of way, has reserved the option of reestablishing rail service on the line. That means the trail will run alongside the old roadbed, not on top of it as elswhere on the Katy Trail. Since the tunnel is not wide enough to accomodate both the tracks and the trail, the trail will have to go up and over the hill, instead of tunneling through it.

Vale Tunnel
Posted April 7, 2009, by Max Johnson

March 31st, 1980, last Rock Island Railroad train in use, this line and many others abandoned.

Well, this one sees new hope.

Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri, has begun the process of rebuilding this line in a Katy trail extension, a video of the story can be seen here


So, new hope and the line will come back to life!

They have said it will take five years to complete, but it will be done.

Vale Tunnel
Posted March 18, 2007, by Kelly McClanahan (KMCCLA [at] aol [dot] com)

Tunnel 4 (of 4) on the old CRI&P line. Access is farily easy. Tunnel goes under Bannister Rd (Kansas City, Mo) just west of Nortfleet Rd. Take Nortfleet (south) to end of paved road (it turns into 98th).