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CNTP - Tunnel 21


The remaining portion of Tunnel 21.

Photo taken by Alex Wood in July 2012


BH Photo #243892



Tunnel 21 was bored in 1878 through a small mountain at Lancing, Tennessee. It was one of the first tunnels to be bypassed, eliminated or raised. It was eliminated through a process called day-lighting, where the roof was simply blown off and a cut made. This is said to have occurred in 1903. The tunnel was allegedly 347 feet long, of course, these are pieces of data so old and nearly lost they are sketchy as far as accuracy is concerned. Other early bypasses/eliminations were Tunnel 6 in Kentucky and Tunnel 27, the last "Rathole" located in Harriman, Tennessee. You may get to this tunnel by taking the adjacent road, and then sliding down into the ditch next to the current tracks. A small portion of the original tunnel lining remains. Be watchful of trains and please stay off the tracks.


Lost Tunnel
Lancing, Morgan County, Tennessee
Removed but not replaced; 'daylighted' that is, top blown off and cut made.
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)
- Southern Railway (SOU)
Tunnel, lined with stacked limestone walls and brick masonry roof. Stacked limestone portals.
Total length: 347.0 ft.
Deck width: 15.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 20.0 ft.
Also called
Cincinnati Southern Tunnel 21
CS #21
Approximate latitude, longitude
+36.12635, -84.64990   (decimal degrees)
36°07'35" N, 84°38'60" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/711488/4000520 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Pilot Mountain
Inventory number
BH 54688 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • November 13, 2013: New photos from Shane Passmore
  • November 30, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added railroads to categories
  • November 30, 2012: Added by Alex Wood


  • Alex Wood
  • Luke
  • Shane Passmore - aa5te [dot] kb5ehr [at] gmail [dot] com


CNTP - Tunnel 21
Posted October 4, 2015, by nancy (nachambers10 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I believe tunnel 10 was daylighted as well.. I've been to 13 of the 27 tunnels.. I'd love to locate the rest and photograph them.. Hopefully this fall/winter.

CNTP Tunnel 21
Posted November 13, 2013, by Shane Passmore (aa5te [dot] kb5ehr [at] gmail [dot] com)

Specifically, two "chunks" of the tunnel wall remain, one of which appears to be the south end of the tunnel due to the flat stone blocks that remain.