The Collapsed Railroad Tunnel # 21, Eaton, West Virginia

The Collapsed Railroad Tunnel # 21, Eaton, West Virginia

Is a Man Buried in the Collapsed Railroad Tunnel 21 in Eaton, West Virginia?

In the mid 1850s the Northwestern Virginia Railroad built a 103 mile long rail line from Grafton, West Virginia to the Ohio River in Parkersburg, West Virginia. When the line was completed in May of 1857 it became known as the B & O Parkersburg Branch. The line was abandoned in 1988 and then later purchased by the State of West Virginia. In 1991 the state began opening up segments of the former rail line turning it into a recreational trail as it is today.

Along this 103 mile long line there were 23 tunnels built along with 52 bridges to limit curvature of the line and to keep the grade under 1.5%.

In 1963 most of the tunnels along this line had to be “transformed” in order to accommodate the higher piggyback trailers and larger railroad box cars. Five tunnels were “daylighted” which basically blasted off the roof of the tunnel. Three tunnels were bypassed. Four tunnels had their roofs raised. Five tunnels would have their floors lowered which included Tunnel 21. Unfortunately, tragedy struck Tunnel 21 during reconstruction…Here’s the story of the Collapse at Tunnel 21.

GPS Location: 39º11’59.9″N 81º19’32.9″W