Blue Ridge Tunnel


Source: WVPT Public Media

The Louisa Railroad wanted to build an extension west of Charlottesville into the Shenandoah Valley, but the company could not afford the cost and risk of building across the Blue Ridge. To solve that problem, the General Assembly had the state build the extension, including the four railroad tunnels.

In 1849 the legislature chartered a new company, the Blue Ridge Railroad. It had the responsibility of constructing 17 miles of track from where the Louisa Railroad ended, 11 west of Charlottesville, to Waynesboro on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. The General Assembly also rechartered the Louisa Railroad as the Virginia Central in 1850, retaining the arrangement where it would have exclusive right to use the Blue Ridge Railroad.1

The first railroad tunnels constructed in Virginia were built in the 1850's on Afton Mountain, between Waynesboro and Charlottesville. Three small tunnels on the east side of the mountain, and the 4,273-foot long Blue Ridge Tunnel at Rockfish Gap, enabled trains to cross the Blue Ridge.2

in 1848, no railroad crossed the Blue Ridge yet
in 1848, no railroad crossed the Blue Ridge yet
Source: Library of Congress, A map of the internal improvements of Virginia (Claudius Crozet, 1848)

During construction, trains traveled on temporary tracks with steep grades and tight curves around Brooksville tunnel, Robinson's Cut, and Rockfish Gap. Workers needed supplies and equipment to excavate tunnels and cuts (trenches through the bedrock) from both their east and west portals.

Claudius Crozet engineered the tunnels at Afton Mountain. He had served twice as the principal engineer for the Virginia Board of Public Works, and was hired in 1849 as the chief engineer for the Blue Ridge Railroad Company. The Blue Ridge Tunnel, the longest in the United States at the time of construction, is also known as the Crozet Tunnel.

Crozet broke the project into eight sections, awarding separate contracts for each one. The long tunnel at the crest of the Blue Ridge was the most challenging of them all.

Crozet awarded a separate contract for constructing a railroad bridge over the Rockfish Gap Turnpike. The bridge required skilled labor to shape stones and build arches. The contractors in that area had bid prices based on simple excavation of railroad cuts and moving dirt to build a flat base for the track, and were unwilling to include the bridge.

since 2001, Nelson County has been actively working to convert the original Blue Ridge Tunnel into a tourist attraction
since 2001, Nelson County has been actively working to convert the original Blue Ridge Tunnel into a tourist attraction
Source: WVPT, The Blue Ridge Tunnel

In addition, though the project was surrounded by Blue Ridge bedrock, finding the appropriate stone was a challenge. Crozet reported:3

The masonry will cost more than I had expected, owing to the singular scarcity of the building stone in this vicinity, which compelled us, after having exhausted a shallow quarry close to the work, to go a distance of several miles for limestone.

Two contractors were hired to build the tunnels. John Rutter was supposed to complete the large Blue Ridge Tunnel, while John Kelly was responsible for the others. Rutter soon demonstrated he could not get the work accomplished and Kelly built all the tunnels.

The contractors building the sections of track, the railroad bridge over the Rockfish Gap Turnpike, and the tunnels hired white Irish immigrants for pay. The contractors paid the owners of enslaved men for their uncompensated labor. The enslaved men were hired for a year at a time, starting at the beginning of each year.

Crozet's contractors hired mostly Irish workers, since they were more available. Slaveowners in the area were reluctant to lose their free labor for an entire year. Crozet ended up with 800 Irish building track and tunnels in Albemarle County vs. 200 enslaved men. The Irish would not work on the 36 Holy Days in the calendar, and they went on strike in 1853 and earned higher wages, but Crozet could not hire enough enslaved people to replace them.

A cholera epidemic in 1854 killed an unknown number of workers and their families. At least 14 of the Irish died in construction accidents. In the 1850's, there was no workers compensation program and no death benefits for the Irish workers injured or killed on the job.

When the enslaved men died, their owners were paid for the loss of their property. The annual contracts prohibited assigning the enslaved men to tasks that involved blasting with black powder.

Social tensions between the Irish and the enslaved workers were reduced by directing them to tasks that kept them separate. Today, a non-profit called Clann Mhor ("Great Family" in Gaelic) is researching the stories of the Irish immigrants and rented slaves.

Crozet wrote to the Board of Public Works:4

...it will be advantageous to hire as many negroes as practicable for the Tunnel; because the numerous holy days of the Irish and their practice to stop work when any one, even a mere child, dies, causes a considerable loss of time

What is documented is an 1850 fight between Irish workers. It is known as the Fisherville Rebellion, because workers from southern Ireland left their housing on the east side of the Blue Ridge and marched across the mountain to attack the workers living near Fisherville. Those men had immigrated originally from southwestern Ireland, before getting jobs to build the western end of the Blue Ridge Tunnel and the railroad track down the western face of the mountain. The local newspaper reported:5

Our jail has never confined a merrier set. They seem to have no idea that there was anything wrong in their late proceedings...they only proposed to crack a few skulls of their own countrymen.

the state-owned Blue Ridge Railroad contracted for enslaved workers to construct the trackbed and tunnels
the state-owned Blue Ridge Railroad contracted for enslaved workers to construct the trackbed and tunnels
Source: Railroads and the Making of Modern America, Blue Ridge Railroad Contract for the hire of Negroes

On April 6, 1854, rail cars loaded with dirt separated from the locomotive when an iron pin broke. The cars raced down the track and smashed into a handcar, killing two enslaved workers on it.

The Virginia Attorney General ruled that the Blue Ridge Railroad was responsible for compensating the slaveowner for the loss of his property. No mention was made of compensating the families of the dead men; in the culture of industrial slavery, the need for such payment would have been a foreign concept.6

the Blue Ridge Tunnel, engineered by Claudius Crozet, was the first tunnel to be completed in Virginia
the Blue Ridge Tunnel, engineered by Claudius Crozet, was the first tunnel to be completed in Virginia
Source: Library of Congress, Southeast End of Tunnel - Blue Ridge Railroad, Blue Ridge Tunnel, U.S. Route 250 at Rockfish Gap

The tunnels were designed to be 16' wide and 20' high, for one railroad track. Crozet noted the dimensions would be sufficient if the gauge was widened later and would provide:7

...safe room on each side of the cars for persons that may happen to be in the tunnel, and for side ditches [to drain water], sufficient height above the chimney stacks of the engines for draft and ventilation...

the western end of the tunnel was reinforced with a brick lining
the western end of the tunnel was reinforced with a brick lining
Source: Library of Congress, Interior of Blue Ridge (Crozet) Tunnel

The 536-foot long tunnel closest to Charlottesville was named the Greenwood Tunnel, completed in 1853. The rock was hard enough to require blasting, but with so many fractures that it would slide into the tunnel if not supported. Construction was abandoned twice and the laborers discharged, until a contractor managed to complete it. Roof arches were extended beyond the east and west portals, to protect the tracks from future slides.

the east portal of the Blue Ridge Tunnel
the east portal of the Blue Ridge Tunnel
Source: HathiTrust, Claudius Crozet; his story of the four tunnels in the Blue Ridge

To its west was the 864-foot long Brooksville Tunnel. The first 150 feet of the eastern portal passed through hard rock that required no support, once the tunnel had been blasted. The rest had to be supported as excavation progressed. Workers installed a frame of strong wooden timbers to provide initial support, until a brick tunnel roof in the shape of an arch could be completed to support the clay and decomposed rock overhead.

The arched tunnel was completed in 1856. West of the first 150 feet, the roof was made with two million bricks. Carving the tunnel through soft rock was not easier than blasting though solid rock, because extra effort was required in the confined space for bracing the roof and constructing the brick arches.

Between the Brooksville Tunnel and the Blue Ridge Tunnel was the 100-foot long Little Rock tunnel.8

the east portal of the Greenwood Tunnel
the east portal of the Greenwood Tunnel
Source: HathiTrust, Claudius Crozet; his story of the four tunnels in the Blue Ridge

three tunnels, constructed initially as part of the Blue Ridge Tunnel project in the 1850's, have been converted into railroad cuts
three tunnels, constructed initially as part of the Blue Ridge Tunnel project in the 1850's, have been converted into railroad cuts
Source: Library of Congress, Historic American Engineering Record, HAER VA,63-AFT.V,1- (sheet 1 of 2) - Blue Ridge Railroad, Blue Ridge Tunnel

The most challenging tunnel was the Blue Ridge Tunnel at the crest of the mountain. It sloped upward gently from the eastern entrance, at 1,430 feet in elevation, to the western entrance at 1,500 feet.9

Construction began on February 14, 1850. Workers advanced towards each other from each end; for the first time, no vertical shaft was constructed in the middle. Progress averaged 26 feet per month on each end, using drills t make holes for black powder to blast rock free. Muscle power, not machinery, was key to drilling holes and shoveling the blasted rock into carts for removal.

The workers coming from two sides met on December 25, 1856, when the tunnel was "holed through." Trains began using it on April 13, 1858.10

After workers on the west portal excavated 900' of material, they exposed a fracture filled with water. Horse-powered pumps kept the water levels down as various veins were encountered, but the workers deep underground struggled to stay dry. Though Merle Travis's lyrics describe mine tunnels as a place "where the rain never falls and the sun never shines," the Blue Ridge Tunnel was wet.11

even today, the original Blue Ridge Tunnel is wet from seepage through rock fractures
even today, the original Blue Ridge Tunnel is wet from seepage through rock fractures
Source: WVPT, The Blue Ridge Tunnel

Crozet managed to connect the two ends of the tunnel in 1856, before the 1857 financial "panic." That economic recession, among other things, ended plans to complete the Manassas Gap Railroad by building a separate line to Alexandria rather than use tracks of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad from the junction at Manassas.

Crozet's success stands in contrast to the efforts of another Blue Ridge Railroad. South Carolina planned to build a line from Charleston to the Ohio River, but the state legislature lost patience as the costs to build Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel through the Blue Ridge kept climbing. The South Carolina tunnel project was stopped in 1859.

Had that tunnel been completed, it would have been 5,682 feet long and surpassed Crozet's tunnel as the longest in the world. When the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railway made its rail connection from South Carolina across the Blue Ridge, it followed a different route rather than complete the Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel. Today the unfinished tunnel is a park where visitors can explore the failed project.12

In Virginia, a replacement tunnel at the crest of the Blue Ridge was built in 1942-44 to accommodate wider trains. The smaller Brooksville tunnel was "daylighted," with the roof removed. The Greenwood Tunnel was bypassed by excavating a railroad cut, and the tunnel was sealed with concrete.

the Greenwood Tunnel was bypassed and sealed up by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway in 1944
the Greenwood Tunnel was bypassed and sealed up by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway in 1944
Source: buxelbow, Claudius Crozet Train Tunnels

The 80-foot long Little Rock Tunnel cut through hard rock and required no brick lining, so that tunnel was enlarged as part of the 1944 project. It hd been built in 1853 as a revision to Crozet's plans. He decided that digging the short tunnel would be quicker that excavating a cut, and faster work was needed to accommodate the temporary track built by the Virginia Central to bypass the incomplete Broooksville and Blue Ridge tunnels.

In 1907, a circus train wrecked inside the short Little Rock Tunnel. Cages filled with animals on one of the cars jostled loose during the trip from Charlottesville to Staunton. On going through the tunnel, a cage with a tiger was crushed, killing the tiger. Other cages fell on top of five stoway boys hitching a ride, and one was killed. The train journey was delayed half a day, in part to drop off injured animals at Basic City (WAynesboro) for veterinary care.13

The Buckingham Branch Railroad, which now operates on the old Blue Ridge Railroad route, still uses the Little Rock Tunnel and the 1944 Blue Ridge Tunnel to cross the Blue Ridge. I-64 crosses north of the Little Rock Tunnel and over both the 1856 and the 1944 Blue Rdge tunnels as it goes across Afton Mountain.

the original Blue Ridge Tunnel was replaced by a bigger tunnel in 1944
the original Blue Ridge Tunnel was replaced by a bigger tunnel in 1944
Source: Library of Congress, General View of Entrance to Blue Ridge Tunnel (Left) From Southeast. Original Blue Ridge R.R. (Crozet) Tunnel Is Visible At Right

Nelson County began to focus on converting the 1856 tunnel into a tourist attraction in 2001. Providing a hiking path through that tunnel would give visitors one more reason to come to Nelson County and spend money at the breweries, wineries, cideries, and distilleries on Route 151.

Local residents who had traditionally explored through the Blue Ridge Tunnel without authorization were given a final opportunity to walk through it in 2017, before the site was secured. One made a comment that indicated why county officials thought an abandoned railroad tunnel might attract tourists:13

...just being able to be inside of a rock, inside a whole mountain - now that was awsome!

The Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation is the non-government organization working in partnership with Nelson, Augusta, and Albemarle counties plus the City of Waynesboro to create a regional attraction. The University of Virginia used a robot to map a portion of the tunnel with Light Direction and Ranging (LiDAR) technology.14


Source: Mapping the Crozet Tunnel

Geologists have examined the bedrock, which for most of the tunnel is primarily a form of basalt called the Catoctin Formation. It was lava that oozed into fractures in the surrounding granite and flowed onto the surface. The Catoctin Formation was emplaced about 570 million years ago, and over 200 million years later tectonic forces had pushed it about 10 miles underground.

Heat and pressure metamorphosed the basalt into greenstone, rich in the greenish mineral epidote, as Africa and North America collided to form the supercontinent Pangea. That collision pushed the bedrock northwest 40-75 miles, so what is now exposed at Rockfish Gap may have been located near Richmond until the Alleghanian Orogeny. Later geologic forces brought the basalt back to the surface.

the 1858 tunnel was carved through greenstone with a semi-elliptical profile
the 1858 tunnel was carved through greenstone with a semi-elliptical profile
Source: Virginia Department of Transportation, Proposed Route of the Blue Ridge Tunnel Greenway

The basalt and granite/granodiorite is much more resistant to erosion than the limestone in the Shenandoah Valley to the west or the metamorphic rocks in the Piedmont to the east, so the Blue Ridge became a mountainous barrier to railroads. At only one location in Virginia, at Rockfish Gap, was the Blue Ridge crossed via a tunnel. The other crossings relied upon low "water gaps" where the Roanoke River and James River had cut through the bedrock, and at the "wind gap" of Manassas Gap. The Alexandria, Loudoun, and Hampshire Railroad stopped in Loudoun County before trying to cross the Blue Ridge and reach the coal fields of Hampshire County.

Though it is resistant to erosion, the bedrock at the tunnel is fractured. Raindrops seep through over 700 feet of rock and reach the tunnel bore within days or weeks of a storm. The Blue Ridge Tunnel is deep underground, and always wet.15

On the western end, the tunnel was carved through metamorphosed sedimentary formations before reaching the Catoctin Formation. The sediments are less consolidated, so workers encased the western 1,400 feet of the tunnel with a brick lining.16

the western portal was reinforced with a brick lining, since it was carved through metamorphosed sediments rather than greenstone
the western portal was reinforced with a brick lining, since it was carved through metamorphosed sediments rather than greenstone
Source: Virginia Department of Transportation, West portal of the Blue Ridge Tunnel

After the original tunnel was abandoned in 1944, it sat idle until the Bottled Gas Corporation tried to use it for storing natural gas. Two massive concrete bulkheads were constructed in the middle of the tunnel; one was 10 feet thick and the other was 14 feet thick. A 20" diameter pipe was incorporated within each bulkhead in order to pump gas in and out of the "thermos bottle" being created underground.

The project was never completed, in part because the fractures in the greenstone allowed gas to escape. To have succeeded, the company would have been required to place a pressure-resistant concrete skin over all the surfaces between the bulkheads.

People who explored the tunnel after the 1950's had to squeeze through the 20" pipes in the bulkheads, located several feet above "ground level" (the bottom of the tunnel). Those explorers discovered that the thick concrete barriers prevented water from draining out of the tunnel, so a pool of cold water was commonly encountered between the bulkheads.17

To convert the abandoned tunnel into a tourism attraction, Nelson County has invested more time than the eight years required for initial tunnel construction.

The county arranged with the CSX for the railroad to donate the tunnel in 2007, charging only $1 for the asset. Nelson County then obtained a $750,000 Transportation Alternatives Program grant in 2013 from the Commonwealth Transportation Board for the first phase of a three-phase project. The Transportation Alternatives Program grants finance initiatives that highlight the cultural, historical and environmental aspects of roads and other transportation infrastructure.

Phase I was finished in 2015, producing a parking lot, trail, and fencing along the trail to the eastern portal. The fencing on the trail to the portal was an essential safety feature, separating visitors from trains using the still-active railroad tracks.

trains using the 1944 tunnel pose a hazard for tourists exploring the 1858 tunnel
trains using the 1944 tunnel pose a hazard for tourists exploring the 1858 tunnel
Source: Virginia Department of Transportation, Finished phase one of the Proposed Route of the Blue Ridge Tunnel Greenway

the 1944 tunnel is still used by modern trains
the 1944 tunnel is still used by modern trains
Source: Virginia Department of Transportation, Proposed Route of the Blue Ridge Tunnel Greenway near Crozet

The tunnel itself remained off-limits to public use after Phase I. To cope with interested-enough-to-trespass visitors, a few scheduled tours were offered to the general public. At that point, the potential tourism benefits were clear to Augusta County and the City of Waynesboro.

To raise private funds, manage outreach and tours, and build local support, in 2012 Nelson County joined with Augusta County, the City of Waynesboro, Albemarle County, the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, and the National Park Service to establish the Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation. The National Park Service managed the Blue Ridge Parkway south of the tunnel and Shenandoah National Park north of it.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board approved a grant in 2016 for the next two phases, with half of the grant going to Augusta County and half to Nelson County.

modern explosives were used to blast away the thick natural gas bulkheads so tourists could walk through the whole tunnel
modern explosives were used to blast away the thick natural gas bulkheads so tourists could walk through the whole tunnel
Source: Virginia Department of Transportation, Gas Bulkhead at the East Portal ready for 2nd blasting

Phase II included blasting away the bulkheads constructed for the natural gas storage, installation of rock bolts, and making a trail within the tunnel. Also part of Phase II was sealing some of the brick lining at the western end to reduce the risk of falling material, and coating the rock where the bulkheads were removed. Geologists encouraged the tunnel planners to minimize the amount of shotcrete used to stabilize the rock. A coating would block the potential to interpret how the Blue Ridge formed, and the drilling challenges faced by the laborers in the 1850's.

brick lining inside the West Portal
brick lining inside the West Portal
Source: Virginia Department of Transportation, West portal of the Blue Ridge Tunnel

some bricks at the West Portal have fallen from the lining
some bricks at the West Portal have fallen from the lining
Source: Virginia Department of Transportation, West portal of the Blue Ridge Tunnel

The Phase III component created parking at a trailhead on US 250 in Augusta County and a connector trail up to the western portal.

Bids came in higher than expected, and Phase II was delayed in 2018.

Phase II ended up costing $3.7 million. Phase III, a $1.3 million project for the parking/trail in Augusta County up the mountain to U.S. 250, began in August, 2019. Together with the $750,000 cost for Phase I, the 2.5 mile trail underneath the Blue Ridge ended up costing $5.75 million.18

Blue Ridge Railroad

Buckingham Branch Railroad

Natural Gas Storage in Virginia

Railroads of Virginia

Transportation Tunnels in Virginia

Virginia Central Railroad

Nelson County recognized the Blue Ridge Tunnel could be repurposed into a unique tourist attraction
Nelson County recognized the Blue Ridge Tunnel could be repurposed into a unique tourist attraction
Source: Virginia Department of Transportation, Partnership and Innovation - Engineering Directorate Leadership Meeting (2013)

Links

References

1. James Poyntz Nelson, Claudius Crozet; his story of the four tunnels in the Blue Ridge, Mitchell & Hotchkiss (Richmond, VA), 1917, pp.3-4, posted online by HathiTrust, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044091993402 (last checked November 16, 2018)
2. William G. Thomas III, "Finding the Blue Ridge Tunnel Ruins," November 14, 2010, http://railroads.unl.edu/blog/?p=112 (last checked November 21, 2018)
3. Claudius Crozet, "Annual Report to the President and Directors of the Board of Public Works, 1850," Railroads and the Making of Modern America, http://railroads.unl.edu/documents/view_document.php?id=rail.blue.0003; Sean Patrick Adams and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography, "Claudius Crozet (1789-1864)," Encyclopedia Virginia, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, May 15, 2017 (last checked November 19, 2018)
4. "Lyons Traces Irish Lives at Blue Ridge Tunnel," Crozet Gazette, April 4, 2014, https://www.crozetgazette.com/2014/04/04/lyons-traces-irish-lives-at-blue-ridge-tunnel/; "Contractors and Laborers," Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation, http://blueridgetunnel.org/contractors-laborers/; Mary E. Lyons, "The Blue Ridge Tunnel: A Remarkable Engineering Feat in Antebellum Virginia," Arcadia Publishing, 2014, p.45, https://books.google.com/books?id=QAF3CQAAQBAJ; "How John Kelly Saved the Blue Ridge Tunnel," Crozet Gazette, November 6, 2015, https://www.crozetgazette.com/2015/11/06/how-john-kelly-saved-the-blue-ridge-tunnel/; "The Blue Ridge Railroad Project," Clann Mhor, http://www.clannmhor.org/clannmhor/Home.html (last checked November 19, 2018)
5. "A Step Back in Time: The Irish and the Blue Ridge Tunnel," The News Virginian, March 6, 2016, https://www.dailyprogress.com/newsvirginian/news/a-step-back-in-time-the-irish-and-the-blue/article_2071f37e-e354-11e5-8b28-c33f6331530e.html (last checked November 21, 2018)
6. "Attorney General W.P. Bocark's Opinion Regarding the Bureau of Public Works' Liability for Slaves Killed on Blue Ridge Railroad, November 1, 1854," Railroads and the Making of Modern America, http://railroads.unl.edu/documents/view_document.php?id=rail.blue.0022; "William M. Sclater's Affidavit, October 28, 1854," Railroads and the Making of Modern America, http://railroads.unl.edu/documents/view_document.php?id=rail.blue.0018; "Letter from Claudius Crozet to the Virginia Board of Public Works, December 28, 1854," Railroads and the Making of Modern America, http://railroads.unl.edu/documents/view_document.php?id=rail.blue.0014 (last checked November 19, 2018)
7. James Poyntz Nelson, Claudius Crozet; his story of the four tunnels in the Blue Ridge, Mitchell & Hotchkiss (Richmond, VA), 1917, pp.9-10, posted online by HathiTrust, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044091993402 (last checked November 16, 2018)
8. James Poyntz Nelson, Claudius Crozet; his story of the four tunnels in the Blue Ridge, Mitchell & Hotchkiss (Richmond, VA), 1917, pp.5-8, posted online by HathiTrust, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044091993402; Palmer C. Sweet, "History of Brick In Charlottesville and Albemarle County," Virginia Minerals, Virginia DEpartment of Mines, Minerals and Energy, Volume 44, Number 3 (August 1998), pp.19-20, http://www.dmme.virginia.gov/commercedocs/VAMIN_VOL44_NO03.PDF (last checked June 1, 2020)
9. Chuck Bailey, "From the Tunnel to the Temple," William and Mary Blogs, February 28, 2018, https://wmblogs.wm.edu/cmbail/from-the-tunnel-to-the-temple/ (last checked February 21, 2019)
10. "Blue Ridge RR: Crozet Tunnel," Historic American Engineering Record, National Park Service, http://cdn.loc.gov/master/pnp/habshaer/va/va0200/va0253/data/va0253data.pdf; "Crozet tunnel to be on trail," Free Lance-Star, June 29, 2015, (last checked November 17, 2018)
11. James Poyntz Nelson, Claudius Crozet; his story of the four tunnels in the Blue Ridge, Mitchell & Hotchkiss (Richmond, VA), 1917, p.9, posted online by HathiTrust, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044091993402; "Merle Travis - Dark as a Dungeon Lyrics," MetroLyrics, http://www.metrolyrics.com/dark-as-a-dungeon-lyrics-merle-travis.html (last checked November 18, 2018)
12. M. Linda Lee, "Tunnel to Nowhere," Smoky Mountain Living, February 1, 2016, http://www.smliv.com/departments/tunnel-to-nowhere/ (last checked November 21, 2018)
13. "The Blue Ridge Tunnel, WVPT, August 12, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTg15Dyc9Mc; Mary E. Lyons, "How John Kelly Saved Blue Ridge Tunnel," The Chesapeake and Ohio Historical Magazine, Volume 48, Numbers 9 & 10 (September/October 2016), p.46, https://cf.cohs.org/repository/archives/web/cohm/cohm-2016-09-10.pdf; "Secrets of the Blue Ridge: Tragedy at Little Rock Tunnel," Crozet Gazette, March 9, 2013, https://www.crozetgazette.com/2013/03/09/secrets-of-the-blue-ridge-tragedy-at-little-rock-tunnel/ (last checked on June 1, 2020)
14. "Into The Darkness: UVA Robot Maps Historic Tunnel," UVA Today, January 5, 2018, https://news.virginia.edu/content/darkness-uva-robot-maps-historic-tunnel (last checked November 21, 2018)
15. Chuck Bailey, "From the Tunnel to the Temple," William and Mary Blogs, February 28, 2018, https://wmblogs.wm.edu/cmbail/from-the-tunnel-to-the-temple/; Alex Johnson, Chuck Bailey, "The Catoctin Formation - Virginia is for Lavas," College of William & Mary, http://geology.wm.edu/bailey/CatoctinFormation.pdf (last checked November 21, 2018)
16. "Money secured for Virginia rail tunnel refurbishment," Tunnels, July 7, 2016, http://www.tunnelsonline.info/news/money-secured-for-virginia-rail-tunnel-refurbishment-4942776 (last checked November 21, 2018)
17. "Long-abandoned Blue Ridge Tunnel could partially reopen within six months," C'Ville Weekly, September 25, 2013, http://www.c-ville.com/long-abandoned-blue-ridge-tunnel-could-partially-reopen-within-six-months/; Chuck Bailey, "From the Tunnel to the Temple," William and Mary Blogs, February 28, 2018, https://wmblogs.wm.edu/cmbail/from-the-tunnel-to-the-temple/ (last checked November 21, 2018)
18. "CTB Funds Blue Ridge Tunnel Restoration," Virginia Department of Transportation, June 15, 2016, http://www.virginiadot.org/newsroom/staunton/2016/ctb_funds_blue_ridge97632.asp; "Addendum No. 4," Wolpert, June 2, 2017, https://www.fce-digs.com/library/documents/doc_20170602addendum4pdf_170605_095135.pdf; "Blue Ridge Tunnel repairs delayed due to funding issues," News & Advance, June 18, 2018, https://www.newsadvance.com/townnews/economics/blue-ridge-tunnel-repairs-delayed-due-to-funding-issues/article_e0845f0d-161c-5adf-ab20-6f7ad195be37.html; "Long-abandoned Blue Ridge Tunnel could partially reopen within six months," C'Ville Weekly, September 25, 2013, http://www.c-ville.com/long-abandoned-blue-ridge-tunnel-could-partially-reopen-within-six-months/; "Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation to Offer Tours," Crozet Gazette, March 4, 2016, https://www.crozetgazette.com/2016/03/04/blue-ridge-tunnel-foundation-to-offer-tours/; "Blue Ridge Tunnel almost complete," News & Advance, December 23, 2019, https://www.newsadvance.com/news/local/blue-ridge-tunnel-almost-complete/article_fd4a12b2-8a06-52cc-a0e8-7c26f6407f55.html (last checked December 23, 2019)

brick reinforced the western entrance of the Blue Ridge Tunnel in Augusta County
brick reinforced the western entrance of the Blue Ridge Tunnel in Augusta County
Source: Library of Congress, Historic American Engineering Record, HAER VA,63-AFT.V,1- (sheet 2 of 2) - Blue Ridge Railroad, Blue Ridge Tunnel

west portal of the Blue Ridge Tunnel
west portal of the Blue Ridge Tunnel
Source: HathiTrust, Claudius Crozet; his story of the four tunnels in the Blue Ridge


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