1 vote

CNTP - Tunnel 20


The number stone on the north portal of Tunnel 20.

Photo taken by Alex Wood in November 2012


BH Photo #243887


CNO&TP Tunnel 20, originally bored in 1878. Was bypassed in the late 1940's during the double tracking of the railroad between CW Tower and Robbins. The tunnel is far out in the woods and requires hiking via some backwoods trails to get to it. Make sure you wear orange! It is also accessible by hiking up the mountain side from Highway 27 and crossing the current railroad tracks on foot, which requires caution. This tunnel does not sit directly next to the current railroad grade like sister T19. The former grade running south of the tunnel veers to the west quite a bit before lining back up with the current grade to make the run towards Rock Creek bridge and former Tunnel 21.


Abandoned tunnel
Morgan County, Tennessee
Built in 1878 by the Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific Railroad in cooperation with the city of Cincinnati, Ohio
- Cincinnati Southern Railway (CNTP)
- Cincinnati, New Orleans, & Texas Pacific Railway (CNO&TP; CNTP)
Tunnel made of limestone stacked walls and brick masonry lined roof. At one time had thin concrete coating on bricks. Stacked limestone portals. Packed dirt/rock flooring.
Total length: 0.9 ft.
Deck width: 15.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 20.0 ft.
Also called
Cincinnati Southern Tunnel 20
CS #20
Approximate latitude, longitude
+36.14307, -84.64659   (decimal degrees)
36°08'35" N, 84°38'48" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/711742/4002382 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Pilot Mountain
Inventory number
BH 54687 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • November 30, 2012: Added by Alex Wood


  • Alex Wood


CNTP - Tunnel 20
Posted July 26, 2021, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

Yep, 'post in haste..'

Point is that the line was built by Cincinnati as the Cincinnati Southern who are still the owners. I was surprised that CNTP still existed but it does as the entity which handles the lease with, first Southern and presently Norfolk Southern.

CNTP - Tunnel 20
Posted July 25, 2021, by Anonymous

It's the "Cincinnati, New Orleans, Texas and Pacific", not "New Orleans, Texas and Pacific"


CNTP - Tunnel 20
Posted July 25, 2021, by Warren Jenkins (wwjenkins77 [at] verizon [dot] net)

Operator before the Norfolk Southern merger in 1982 was the Southern Railway.

CNTP - Tunnel 20
Posted July 25, 2021, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

There seems to be a bit of confusion about this line, it's builder and ownership.

Cincinnati Southern, owned by the city of Cincinnati built the road. It was operated by the New Orleans, Texas and Pacific, sometimes refereed to as the NOTPR but in standard railroad designation shortened to NTPR.

New Orleans, Texas and Pacific ceased operating the road but still holds the lease for the Cincinnati Southern and has for about a century sub-leased the line to Norfolk & Western and it's successor Norfolk Southern. As I understand it the present day New Orleans, Texas and Pacific is nothing but the administrator of the lease for Cincinnati Southern.

To simplify, Cincinnati Southern was built by Cincinnati and leased to New Orleans, Texas and Pacific who now sub-lease it to Norfolk Southern.

CNTP - Tunnel 20
Posted July 23, 2021, by Andres Robles (cyadragon1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

So my family owns the land where the tunnel is on now. It is cool to find out more about the tunnel that is here but hopefully we don't find anyone trespassing now

CNTP - Tunnel 20
Posted October 5, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Yep, I think that we have a misprint...

CNTP - Tunnel 20
Posted October 5, 2017, by Oliver

..........That's only .1612 Smoot........

CNTP - Tunnel 20
Posted October 5, 2017, by David (volcrano [at] gmail [dot] com)

This tunnel is listed as 0.9 feet long, which seems short.