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Blue Ridge Tunnel


General View Of Northeast End Of Tunnel

Photo taken for the Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #301164


The Tunnel

The Tunnel is a new 35-minute documentary film about the creation and the re-creation of the Blue Ridge Railroad Tunnel. In the 1850s, Irish immigrants dug this nearly mile-long tunnel. Many of them were maimed or even died. The story also examines the role of enslaved Black railroad workers. In 1944 the tunnel was closed. But in 2020, it was re-opened to the public as a remarkable historic site and tourist attraction.

American Focus Films

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The Blue Ridge tunnel was the longest tunnel in the United States upon completion. It is also the first tunnel in the U.S. driven without vertical shafts. / The Blue Ridge Railroad, 17 miles in length, originally connected the terminus of the Louisa Railroad near Blair Park with the town of Waynesboro.

-- Historic American Engineering Record

The tunnel has now been reopened as a trail for pedestrians. It passes under Rockfish Gap, Appalachian Trail, US-250, I-64, and Skyline Drive.

The parallel replacement tunnel, built in 1944, carries CSX and Amtrak trains today.


Tunnel under Rockfish Gap on pedestrian trail
Rockfish Gap, Nelson County, Virginia
Open to pedestrians
Built 1858; abandoned 1944; reopened for pedestrians 2020
- Claudius Crozet
- Blue Ridge Railroad (BR)
- Chesapeake & Ohio Railway (C&O; CO)
Total length: 4,237.0 ft. (0.8 mi.)
Deck width: 16.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 20.0 ft.
Also called
Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.03094, -78.85416   (decimal degrees)
38°01'51" N, 78°51'15" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/688330/4211420 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Waynesboro East
1580 ft. above sea level
Inventory number
BH 63583 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • December 29, 2022: New photos from Dylan Clarke
  • April 25, 2022: Updated by Roger Deschner: Tunnel now open to pedestrians; added video; added many categories
  • December 17, 2014: Photo imported by Dave King
  • October 12, 2014: Added by Dave King



Blue Ridge Tunnel
Posted April 16, 2022, by W.A. Wright (wawright3d [at] gmail [dot] com)