Winston Tunnel 1888-1972
N 42° 20.100 W 090° 22.400
15T E 716396 N 4690313
Quick Description: The longest tunnel in Illinois was trouble from beginning to end.
Location: Illinois, United States
Date Posted: 10/28/2007 11:14:55 AM
Waymark Code: WM2G1G
A 3/4 mile walk through the woods will get you to the West entrance to this troublesome tunnel.
Digging a tunnel through a mix of shale and silt created many problems during construction. Extra timber reinforcment and lots of extra manpower was needed to complete the tunnel after 9 months. It cost $600,000, considerably over budget.
Troubles started soon after the tunnel opened for traffic. The vent hole to remove smoke from the tunnel wasn't working properly. A deisel engine powered fan was finally installed with operators to man it in 1912 . The wood bracing was found to be inadequate and was replaced by brick and reinforced concrete in 1902. Reconstruction of the tunnel occured again in 1912, 1918, 1944, and 1947.
The merger with the CNW sealed the fate of the tunnel with the last train going through in 1973. The section of track was closed and the rails were removed. The land reverted back to private owners. The East end of the tunnel has been buried by the land owner. The West end was purchased by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. A steel gate has been installed to keep people out. Some collapse has occured within the tunnel and rattlesnakes live in the area.