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Railroad Tunnel

The railroad tunnel was constructed from 1871 to 1872 as part of the Shepaug Valley Railroad. A crew of coal miners from Pennsylvania built the 235-foot curved tunnel by hand using picks, dynamite and nitroglycerin to blast through Steep Rock Ridge. It took them only nine months to complete, a remarkably quick project in those days. The railroad ceased operation in 1948. Today, hikers enjoy the cool, damp air within the darkness of these chiseled bedrock walls as a refreshing respite on a warm summer day.

A spring view of the Tunnel from the north side, June 2, 1901.From the Collection of the Gunn Memorial Library and Museum

A spring view of the Tunnel from the north side, June 2, 1901.
From the Collection of the Gunn Memorial Library and Museum

A forty-minute jaunt travels along a popular riding trail that is evocative of an English country lane. It’s wide and nearly flat all the way. The final 100-yard straightaway is lined with towering pines, oaks, ashes and maples leading to the railroad tunnel (1.78 miles one-way).

Directions: From the main parking lot (next to the horse riding ring), take the yellow circle trail along Tunnel Road to the blue square trail to the Railroad Tunnel.

 

 

Find out what it was like to ride the Shepaug Railroad by clicking here: The Shepaug Railroad by Ellen Irwin Whitman (Read at a meeting for the Woman’s Club of Washington, Connecticut (January 1954))

 

 

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