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CSX - Sand Patch Tunnel


View From Afar Of Western Portal Of Tunnel, Looking Northeast

Photo taken by Jet Lowe for the Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #289387



The Sand Patch Tunnel now used by CSX is the second railroad tunnel constructed through the Eastern Continental Divide at Sand Patch. The first tunnel, began in 1854 and completed in 1871, marked the original route of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad through the Allegheny Mountains. This 4,475'-long single-track tunnel was one of the largest tunneling projects in the nation at the time of its construction, but it was abandoned in 1912 after b & O engineers decided that a double-track tunnel was necessary. With a work crew of about 1,000 men, the second Sand Patch Tunnel, measuring nearly 4,000' in length, was erected in 1911-1912.

-- Historic American Engineering Record


Tunnel under Allegheny Mountains on CSX Keystone Subdivision
Sand Patch, Somerset County, Pennsylvania
Open to traffic
Built 1912, notched 2011-12 for doublestack containers
- Amtrak (AMTK)
- Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O; BO)
- CSX Railroad (CSX)
Concrete Tunnel
Total length: 4,475.0 ft. (0.8 mi.)
Deck width: 31.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.80824, -78.96234   (decimal degrees)
39°48'30" N, 78°57'44" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/674425/4408460 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 61981 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • December 26, 2016: Updated by Roger Deschner: Added category "Amtrak"
  • December 25, 2016: Updated by Mike Piontka: Previous posting of the Sandpatch Tunnel crossing Negro Mountain is incorrect. Sandpatch Tunnel only crosses under the ECD, but it doesn't summit any mountain. The closest mountain is Meadow Mountain.
  • July 26, 2014: Added by Ian Martin


  • Ian Martin
  • HAER PA-375 - Sand Patch Tunnel, Northeast of State Route 2006, Sand Patch, Somerset County, PA
  • Wikipedia
  • Mike Piontka


CSX - Sand Patch Tunnel
Posted September 25, 2017, by Hemi (528hemihead528 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I have to correct the "Description" posted here on Sand Patch Tunnel. I grew up not far from the Eastern Portal, in Hyndman, PA, and true fact is, the first bore was done in soft ground, therefore kept collapsing shut.... The 1871 Tunnel was closed due to this, and moved to the Northeast location where the NEW "current" tunnel is, with a Tunnel portal front on the West portal 475 feet in-set from the old Tunnels location. The old Tunnel was NOT closed due to a choice in "Double Tracking" the tunnel at all. The old Tunnel was closed as it was seriously Dangerous for anyone to be inside of it..... Due to unstable ground, and train traffic and size.... Portions of that old original Tunnel still exist to this day! You can see some of it, if you know what your looking for and where!