Pittsburgh and Castle Shannon Tunnel

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Pittsburgh and Castle Shannon Tunnel
Location Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 40°25′41″N 80°00′19″W / 40.42811°N 80.00517°W / 40.42811; -80.00517
Status closed
Start above Carson Street
End above Warrington Avenue[1]
Work begun 1825, as a mine
Constructed conversion of former coal mine
Opened November 1, 1871
Closed 1912[2]
Length 1,741 feet (531 m), with 1,766-foot (538 m) extension branch
Track gauge 3 ft 4 in (1,016 mm)
Tunnel clearance 12.5 feet (3.81 m)

The Pittsburgh and Castle Shannon Tunnel, also known as the Mount Washington Coal Tunnel, was a 3 ft 4 in (1,016 mm) narrow-gauge railway tunnel under Mt. Washington.


It was originally begun as a coal mine[3] in 1825 by Jacob Beltzhoover.[4] The mine was extended to the south side of Mount Washington by 1861, and used as part of a system to transport coal from mines along the Saw Mill Run valley to Pittsburgh,[5] connecting with the 850 feet (260 m) Mt. Washington Coal Incline. The lease to the tunnel was purchased by the Pittsburgh and Castle Shannon Railroad from Mrs Mary Anne Bailey in November 1871, with the height of the tunnel being increased from 5.5 feet (1.7 m) to 12.5 feet (3.8 m) in 1874. The tunnel provided passenger service beginning in 1874, but this was terminated in 1880, and its passenger duties assumed by the Castle Shannon Incline. The tunnel was declared unsafe for passenger transport in 1893. However, the tunnel and the Horseshoe Curve continued to be used to transport coal until May 1, 1912.[6]

The southern (Beltzhoover) end of the tunnel temporarily collapsed in a rainstorm in 1901.[7]


  1. ^ "The Pittsburgh and Castle Shannon Railroad (1871-1912)". http://www.brooklineconnection.com.  External link in |website= (help)
  2. ^ "Incline Road Is Now But A Landmark". The Gazette Times. April 29, 1912. 
  3. ^ Birdsong, Shelley (1996). "Pittsburgh and Castle Shannon Railroad" (PDF). Historic American Engineering Record. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 29, 2013. Retrieved March 2, 2014. 
  4. ^ Wall, J. Sutton (1884). Report on the Coal Mines of the Monongahela River Region from the West Virginia State Line to Pittsburgh, Including the Mines on the Lower Youghiogheny River. Board of Commissioners for the Second Geological Survey. p. 179. 
  5. ^ "Pittsburgh & Castle Shannon Narrow Gauge Railroad". Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  6. ^ Baxter, John (July 1952). "Construction of the Charleroi Interurban". Electric Railroads. New York City: Electric Railroaders Association, Inc. 20. OCLC 15074936. 
  7. ^ "Big Storm in Pittsburg" (PDF). New York Times. 27 June 1901. Retrieved 3 March 2009. 

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