The Clinchfield Loops - A: Ridge Tunnel
Photo taken by Calvin Sneed in March 2012
BH Photo #226695
Ridge Tunnel is the beginning of the railroad's historic descent down the Blue Ridge, and as the first tunnel at the top of the ridge, is labeled "A" (the rest follow the alphabet, and the tunnels that have not been photographed yet, are skipped). This engineering feat was considered one of the best in the country at the beginning of the 19th century. The apex of the railroad before descending the Blue Ridge is 2,628 feet ASL at beginning of tunnel, and is clearly visible in the pictures of the tunnel entrance, which drops through the tunnel to end at 2,605 feet. From that apex, the rate of descent is 63.36 feet per mile (1.2% compensated grade)for 20 miles, until the tracks reach Ashford, NC in the valley, 1,000 feet below.
- Tunnel under Blue Ridge, Eastern Continental Divide on Clinchfield Railroad (now CSX)
- Altapass Community, Mitchell County, North Carolina, and McDowell County, North Carolina
- Open to traffic
- Built as part of the S & W's Altapass to Marion segment; rehabilitated 1958. The following tunnels are labeled beginning with "A" as the line descends the Blue Ridge.
- - CSX Railroad (CSX)
- Carolina, Clinchfield & Ohio Railroad (CCO; Clinchfield)
- South & Western Railway (S&W)
- 1 concrete portal,n then concrete lining extending 584 feet from north end, then 1,281 feet of unlined, rock-wall tunnel, for a total length of 1,865 feet (second longest of tunnel cluster)
Total length: 1.9 ft.
Deck width: 22.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 18.0 ft.
- Also called
- Blue Ridge Tunnel
- Approximate latitude, longitude
- +35.88527, -82.01826 (decimal degrees)
35°53'07" N, 82°01'06" W (degrees°minutes'seconds")
- Approximate UTM coordinates
- 17/408092/3971701 (zone/easting/northing)
- Quadrangle map:
- Spruce Pine
- 2661 ft. above sea level
- Inventory number
- BH 51607 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
- March 6, 2012: Updated by Daniel Hopkins: Added category "Railroad"
- March 5, 2012: Added by Calvin Sneed
- Calvin Sneed - us43137415 [at] yahoo [dot] com