Turn Hole Tunnel

Turn Hole Tunnel

The Turn Hole Tunnel is an abandoned tunnel bored by the Lehigh & Susquehanna Railroad near Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.


History

When the Lehigh & Susquehanna Railroad (L&S), a subsidiary of the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company, extended its mainline from White Haven to Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe) through the Lehigh Gorge in 1866, 1 it crossed the Lehigh River at the Turn Hole, a deep eddy where the river made a sharp turn at the base of a high cliff 2 known as Moyer’s Rock. 3 The L&S bored a dual-track tunnel 496 feet in length under Moyer’s Rock. 5

The L&S was leased to the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ) in 1871. 4

The Turn Hole Tunnel was condemned in 1910 because of ongoing rock falls. 6 The railroad began work to bypass the tunnel in 1911, grading a new alignment parallel with the Lehigh Valley Railroad, and it opened to through traffic in 1912.  The original two tracks in the tunnel were kept intact and used as a passing siding until 1956 when they were abandoned.

The CNJ mainline through Lehigh Gorge was abandoned in late 1956 and later repurposed as the Lehigh Gorge Trail. 4


Gallery


Information

  • State: Pennsylvania
  • Route: Turn Hole Tunnel
  • Type: Tunnel
  • Status: Abandoned / Closed
  • Total Length: 496 feet

Sources

  1. LC&N records, Pennsylvania State Archives MG311.
  2. Gordon, Thomas Francis. A Gazetteer of the State of Pennsylvania. Thomas Belknap, 1832,. 326.
  3. Allen, Richard Sanders. Covered Bridges of the Middle Atlantic States. Stephen Greene Press, 1959, p. 28.
  4. Taber III, Thomas T. Railroads of Pennsylvania Encyclopedia and Atlas. Thomas T. Taber III, 1987, p. 308.
  5. Drinker, Henry Sturgis. Tunneling, explosive compounds, and rock drills. John Wiley & Sons, 1893, p. 1086.
  6. “Railway Construction.” Railway Age Gazette. 51 (5): 269. 4 Aug. 1911.

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