1 vote

CNTP - Tunnel 16


Number stone on top of south portal.

Photo taken by Alex Wood in November 2012


BH Photo #243767


CNO&TP Tunnel 16, bored in 1877. Carried full traffic volumes through the 1930's. Double tracking of this section of the CNO&TP allegedly began in the late 30's, causing a loop to be built around town for the second main track. This reduced the tunnel to southbound traffic only, with the northbound traffic using the bypass around town. In the late 40's, the bypass was double tracked and the tunnel was reduced to a passing siding. A better look at this track situation is viewable on Google Maps. In 1955 the passing siding was removed from service and the tunnel was finally abandoned. This was the longest and most drawn out of the 26 tunnel eliminations. The old railroad grade can be accessed from Sunbright Dollar General, following to the tunnel. About 1/2 mile past the tunnel you will meet the current railroad grade.


Tunnel under tunnels through Sunbright Mountain on ATV trail/abandoned railroad grade
Sunbright, Morgan County, Tennessee
Intact but closed to all traffic, incredibly good condition
Future prospects
Lack of clarity of owner, however Rails to Trails type of project has been pitched around for several years.
Built in 1877 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, lined with stacked limestone walls and brick masonry roof. Sealed with thin cement coating. Stacked limestone portals. Packed dirt, rock and gravel combination flooring.
Total length: 809.0 ft.
Deck width: 15.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 20.0 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Cincinnati Southern Tunnel 16
Sunbright Tunnel
CS #16
Approximate latitude, longitude
+36.25925, -84.66109   (decimal degrees)
36°15'33" N, 84°39'40" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/710125/4015241 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 54670 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • December 8, 2020: New photos from Kristen Wells
  • November 29, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Removed railroad from builders section as to removed redundant category.
  • November 29, 2012: Added by Alex Wood


  • Alex Wood
  • Luke
  • Kristen Wells - Kristenwells1983 [at] gmail [dot] com