Ohio Extension Tunnel Nos. 5, 6 and 7

Tunnel Nos. 5, 6 and 7 on the Kenova District, Scioto Division of the Norfolk & Western Railway were opened in 1904 with the completion of the line in Wayne County, West Virginia.

Tunnel Nos. 5, 6, and 7 on the Kenova District, Scioto Division of the Norfolk & Western Railway were completed in 1904 with the construction of the line along the Tug Fork at Tripp in Wayne County, West Virginia.

The Ohio Extension, an extension of the Norfolk & Western Railway, commenced construction north of Elkhorn, West Virginia in September 1889. 1 3 It followed the routes of Elkhorn Creek, Tug Fork, and Twelvepole Creek, with the inaugural through train operating between Kenova and Elkhorn in December 1891. To accommodate increasing traffic, the Big Sandy Low-Grade Line, a 59-mile single-track route along the Big Sandy River between Naugatuck and Ceredo, was opened on December 15, 1904. 3 4 This new line included six tunnels: Tunnel No. 5 at milepost NA 13.7-13.8 was completed in 1906, Tunnel No. 6 was finished in 1903, and Tunnel No. 7 at milepost 15.6-15.9 was finalized in 1907. The original Twelvepole route, now referred to as the Twelvepole Division, primarily handled eastbound empty coal cars and local freight and passenger traffic, while the Big Sandy Line was designated for westbound loaded cars and through traffic. 3 5 6 In 1925, a second track was added to the Big Sandy Line, requiring additional tunnel bores at Tunnels No. 5 and 7. 5 6 At the site of Tunnel No. 6, a second track was added following the Tug Fork valley.

In 1933, the N&W sought permission from the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to abandon the Twelvepole Division between Lenore and Wayne, maintaining the section between Wayne and Ceredo for coal mine operations at East Lynn. This request was approved in September. Later developments saw Tunnel No. 6 bypassed, and the original bores at Tunnel Nos. 5 and 7 taken out of service following the removal of the second track in 1954.



  1. “Norfolk & Western Railway.” West Virginia Railroads. N.p., 31 Jan. 2008. Web. 6 Jan. 2010. Article.
  2. “Abandoning the twelve pole line from Wayne to Lenore.” ImageBase. Virginia Tech, n.d. Web. 6 Jan. 2010. Entry.
  3. Krebs, C. E., D. D. Teets, Jr., and I. C. White. “Historical and Industrial Development.” West Virginia Geological Survey: Cabell, Wayne and Lincoln Counties. Wheeling: Wheeling News Litho, 1913. 4-5. Print.
  4. Frey, Robert L. “Norfolk & Western Railway.” e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 01 Aug. 2016.
  5. Bakic, Tracy D. “Fleming Thru Girder.” West Virginia Historic Bridge Inventory, 4 Apr. 2013.
  6. Bakic, Tracy D. “Fleming Deck Girder Bridge.” West Virginia Department of Transportation, 3 Apr. 2015.
  7. Hensley, Tim. “Caboose Notes.” Chesapeake and Ohio Historical Newsletter, Dec. 1975, p. 11.

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