5 votes

MoPac - West Barretts Tunnel


West Portal

Photo taken by Nathan Morton in May 2009


BH Photo #140086



From National Historic Registry documents (Sept. 1977): The West tunnel, the shorter of the two, was originally 440 feet long but has eroded to its present 410 foot length. The steep slope on either side of the east portal has been faced with a stepped cut retaining wall. The east and west ends of the west tunnel are reinforced with concrete portals. The rail bed rests on a rock-ballast floor flanked by guttering. On either wall, cut stone wainscoting rises approximately five feet. Because of the occurrence of shale deposits in the walls, engaged piers line either side of the tunnel to provide additional stability. These piers are constructed of cut stone, brick, or concrete. They rest either on the wainscoting or on pedestals and are spaced approximately 12 feet apart. The tunnel is about 15 feet wide and 16 1/2 feet high in the center. The ceiling is limestone cap-rock and is slightly arched.


Tunnel under a hill in Kirkwood, MO on former Missouri Pacific Railroad
Kirkwood, St. Louis County, Missouri
Built between 1851-53 by the Pacific (later MO Pacific) Railroad for a single broad gauge track; Gauge standardized in 1869. Tunnel remained in service until congestion caused the railroad to bypass the tracks via a cut 100' to the south in 1944.
- James P. Kirkwood (Designer)
- Missouri Pacific Railroad (MP; MoPac)
Built for broad 5'6" railroad use between 1851-53. Stone and brick masonry columns added to sure unstable shale rock 1856-57. Was originally 450 ft long but shortened to 410', bored out, and new concrete portals poured in 1929.
Total length: 410.0 ft.
Deck width: 15.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 16.5 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.57021, -90.46414   (decimal degrees)
38°34'13" N, 90°27'51" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/720922/4272133 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 42546 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • August 19, 2017: New photos from David Huffman
  • August 4, 2016: New photo from David Huffman
  • March 19, 2011: Updated by Brian Parkinson: Description and other miscellaneous information added/updated
  • May 10, 2009: Added by Nathan Morton

Related Bridges 


  • Nathan Morton - morton890 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Brian Parkinson - railstoruin [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • David Huffman


MoPac - West Barretts Tunnel
Posted January 5, 2018, by Kenny Fairhurst (dwf0403 [at] gmail [dot] com)

The tunnel is now used as equipment storage by the nearby Museum of Transportation.

West Barretts Tunnel
Posted January 31, 2013, by Brian Parkinson (railstoruin [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Work is underway to restore the East portal as of Nov. 2012

West Barretts Tunnel
Posted May 2, 2012, by the_possum (p0ssum_pie [at] hotmail [dot] com)

You can find pics of both portals of the East tunnel in the following PDF:


Starts at page 39 in the PDF.

West Barretts Tunnel
Posted July 14, 2009, by jack (jackkav [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)

show me the east barrets tunnel if you can