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CNTP - Tunnel 15


The south portal of Tunnel 15. Notice old US 27's guard rail above. You may access this via hiking up from the county road south of here.

Photo taken by Alex Wood in January 2013


BH Photo #247219


In service from 1877 to 1963. This tunnel was also the meeting place for north and south bound track crews during the construction. T15 was in the group of latest surviving tunnels on the CNO&TP. In 1961 Southern Railway drew up plans in cooperation with the City of Cincinnati, Ohio to completely bypass this tunnel via the current New River viaduct a few miles north/west of here. On July 9th, 1963 around 11:30pm the last train rolled through Tunnel 15. On July 10th, 1963 at 12:04am the first train rolled over the New River viaduct. The tunnel has sat here ever since. It is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places due to its significance of being the meeting place of the construction of the rail line. However, time is running out. The potential for a bicycle/walking trail is there...but the tunnel is running out of time. Severe damage to the south portal is very evident from weather damage. The bore itself is stable, but the linings need work. Floor has sustained severe damage from water flow and garbage dumping by local vagrants.


Abandoned tunnel on Abandoned Railroad
Robbins, Scott County, Tennessee
Future prospects
Potential for a bike/pedestrian pathway or trail between Robbins and Helenwood, TN. No plans for such idea are on the table at this time.
Bored in 1877, lined and finished in 1879. Cincinnati construction crews and Chattanooga construction crews met with the building of the tracks in the center of this tunnel.
- Cincinnati Southern Railway (CNTP)
- Cincinnati, New Orleans, & Texas Pacific Railway (CNO&TP; CNTP)
Tunnel bored though sandstone/limestone/shale/slate/clay mixture. Lined with brick masonry and stacked limestone. Straight bore, however other end is not visible from south or north due to the crest of a sizeable grade in the center of the bore.
Total length: 2,533.0 ft. (0.5 mi.)
Deck width: 15.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 20.0 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
CS - Tunnel 15
Approximate latitude, longitude
+36.36221, -84.58293   (decimal degrees)
36°21'44" N, 84°34'59" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/716863/4026836 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 55286 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • November 29, 2015: New photos from Calvin Sneed
  • January 23, 2013: Added by Alex Wood


  • Alex Wood
  • Calvin Sneed - us43137415 [at] yahoo [dot] com


CNTP - Tunnel 15-That little yellow caboose
Posted October 18, 2016, by Echo Anderson (Echo Anderson [at] Historic bridges [dot] org)

I take that back. No spray paint

CNTP - Tunnel 15-That little yellow caboose
Posted October 18, 2016, by Echo Anderson (Echo Anderson [at] Historic bridges [dot] org)

That lil' caboose is a cutie! Did you notice the spray paint?

CNTP - Tunnel 15
Posted November 29, 2015, by Calvin Sneed (us43137415 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Hiked to this portal entrance.... weeds, fallen trees and overgrowth may soon make the only way to get to it impassible.

Saw evidence that water is flowing into this entrance from further back, meaning the water is flowing downhill. That indicates that the south portal is at a higher elevation than the north portal more than 2,500 feet away. That makes sense, because USGS maps show the elevation of this portal is 1,355 ASL, the north portal elevation 25-hundred feet away is 1,326 ASL and further down Tunnel Hollow at the old New River Bridge on this abandoned line is at 1,225 ASL.