6 votes

B&O - Kingwood Tunnel


Photocopied 1974, The Book Of The Great Railway Celebrations Of 1857, William Prescott Smith, New York, D. Appleton & Co., 1857 Drawing Showing The Eastern End Of The Kingwood Tunnel

The Kingwood tunnel was the major tunnel on the B&O mainline between Baltimore and Wheeling. Its construction involved the invention of new tunneling techniques and the use of prefabricated iron arch segments. It was the longest tunnel in America in 1852.

Photo taken by Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #119204



Tunnel on former Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in Tunnelton
Tunnelton, Preston County, West Virginia
Sealed Up in 1950
Bored 1852; Subsequent work 1903 and 1912; Abandoned and sealed 1950
- Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O; BO)
Total length: 4,137.0 ft. (0.8 mi.)
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.38927, -79.75299   (decimal degrees)
39°23'21" N, 79°45'11" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/607388/4360717 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 37014 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • July 8, 2010: Updated by Bill Eichelberger: Added GPS coordinates.
  • August 1, 2008: Added by J.R. Manning


  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
  • HAER WV-16 - Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, Kingwood Tunnel, Tunnelton vicinity, Preston County, WV
  • Bill Eichelberger


B&O - Kingwood Tunnel
Posted May 31, 2018, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Somebody appears to have gotten a current photograph of the interior of the original 1852 Kingwood Tunnel. The tunnel appears to be in shockingly good condition save for being partially flooded.


What an incredible rail-trail this would be if only the railroad would allow a short parallel trail leading out of Tunnelton! Of course, this assumes that the tunnel could be opened and repaired safely.

Kingwood Tunnel
Posted May 7, 2012, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Yes, this would have been the same Wendel Bollman, associated with B&O Railroad and the inventor of the Bollman truss configuration: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendel_Bollman

I will leave it to others to reveal who the other names are.

Kingwood Tunnel
Posted May 7, 2012, by Sara Park (redhood911 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Just wondering....this Wendel Bollman fellow...on the old Kingwood Tunnel in Tunnelton West Virginia, the one that was abandoned in 1950 or so, there are three stones that sit on top of the old tunnel. They have names and titles carved in each of them. The middle stone of the three has Wendel Bollman carved in in, and below his name is "Master of Road", I believe. Is this the same Wendel Bollman that was involved with the Board Tree Tunnel?

I'd also like to know who John L Wilson was, the "Assistant Master of Road", and Robert Murray, who I think was in charge of arching. I cannot tell what the stone says from my picture but to me it looks like an abbreviation for supervisor so I think the stone says "Supv of Arching." If anyone knows anything, I'd love to hear what you have to share! Thanks :-)