2 votes

BO - Eaton Tunnel (Old)


Remains of west portal

Photo taken by Robert Elder in October 2013


BH Photo #268382

Street View 


According to Wikipedia, this tunnel was bored in 1867. The time frame seems legit, but I would like to confirm this with a primary source before I list it as a definitive construction date.

Multiple sources indicate that the tunnel collapsed in 1963, killing two men, and apparently burying their machinery. The tunnel has been sealed and is now a tomb for one of the men, whose body was never recovered.


Lost Tunnel that was located south of the current Eaton Tunnel
Wood County, West Virginia
Collapsed 1963 killing two workers
- Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (BO)
Also called
Tunnel #21
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.19809, -81.32363   (decimal degrees)
39°11'53" N, 81°19'25" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/472054/4338809 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 57280 (Bridgehunter.com ID)


Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (531)
Collapsed (453)
Have street view (29,338)
Lost (29,326)
Lost 1963 (95)
Lost during 1960s (1,006)
Railroad (16,559)
Tomb (1)
Tunnel (1,361)
West Virginia (1,554)
Wood County, West Virginia (30)

Update Log 

  • July 4, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Edited History and Description.
  • October 14, 2013: New photos from Robert Elder
  • July 22, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added categories "Baltimore & Ohio Railroad", "Railroad"
  • July 22, 2013: Added by Robert Elder

Related Bridges 



B&O - Eaton Tunnel (Old)
Posted November 10, 2018, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I hiked through the new Eaton Tunnel on October 4th of this year. After getting through the tunnel, I hiked up the bank to visit the West Portal of this tunnel again. To say that the experience was eerie would be an understatement.

The day was very hot and muggy by October standards in West Virginia. The temperature was in the upper 80s perhaps close to 90 when I arrived. A thunderstorm was brewing in the distance. It was so humid out that you could practically chew the atmosphere. Much of West Virginia had record rainfall this year. Wood County was no exception. The ground was absolutely soaked and there was mud everywhere. So, please try to imagine a hot muggy day full of mud and mosquitoes.

Now, when I arrived at the tunnel portal, there was cold air blowing out between the three stones that are piled above the old tunnel portal. It was hot outside, but apparently it was cold in the tunnel. The temperature difference caused the air to rush out of the tunnel rapidly. The air was blowing so quickly out of the tunnel that it was actually blowing small plants around near those three stones. As I sat beside those stones, I could hear and feel that cold air rushing out. To be honest, the cold air felt good and it kept the mosquitoes away. It just felt very eerie.

Thanks to the record rainfall, I could hear water dripping in the tunnel. The tunnel is an enclosed space and so the water falling from the ceiling was echoing as it struck the tunnel floor. It sounded like there was lots of loud tapping sounds coming from the tunnel although it was just the rain water falling in there.

Although part of the tunnel has collapsed and was apparently sealed off as a tomb, the West end of the tunnel most certainly exists. It must be open for quite some distance back under the hill to produce all of that cold air that was rushing out through that little hole.

B&O - Eaton Tunnel (Old)
Posted July 4, 2017, by Tom moore (Tom [dot] movgh [at] gmail [dot] com)

Only 2 recorded deaths not 3. Harry Nichols and Arthur Boggs. The third person only suffered an ankle injury.

B&O - Eaton Tunnel (Old)
Posted July 6, 2016, by Gene Mills (genemills [at] outlook [dot] com)

Thanks Robert, I appreciate the info.

B&O - Eaton Tunnel (Old)
Posted March 21, 2016, by Robert Elder

As far as I know, there is no access to the eastern portal. I am not sure if it is still visible at the surface.

B&O - Eaton Tunnel (Old)
Posted March 21, 2016, by Gene Mills (genemills [at] outlook [dot] com)

Just curious, is there access to the east portal? Thanks.

B&O Eaton Tunnel (Old)
Posted October 14, 2013, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

The remains of the west portal can be accessed near the west portal of the new tunnel.

If hiking from Parkersburg, stop shortly before the new tunnel and look for the trail to your right (south). The trail leads to the old tunnel site after a very short walk.

Some individuals have managed to gain access to a portion of the old tunnel that never collapsed. Their photographs and videos can be found online. I considered their work to be good enough for me, and I never attempted to access the tunnel as it is obviously dangerous to do so.

B&O Eaton Tunnel (Old)
Posted July 22, 2013, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

The streetview shows Walker Creek Road at the approximate location where it passes over the old tunnel. The streetview also reveals the large hill that obstructed the railroad.