Grimms Bridge Tunnel - Columbiana Co, Ohio
N 40° 40.565 W 080° 32.136
17T E 539247 N 4502903
Quick Description: Grimms Bridge Tunnel on the former Pittsburgh Coal Company private railroad in Columbiana Co, Ohio.
Location: Ohio, United States
Date Posted: 5/3/2010 6:05:35 AM
Waymark Code: WM8QF9
This tunnel is along the right of way of the former Pittsburgh Coal Company private railroad. It is south of Grimms Bridge Rd. The north portal and interrior are in excellent shape; the south portal is blocked and covered by a landslide. The rails have been removed from the right of way, however they are still in place from just north of the portal into the tunnel, but disappear into standing water.
“In 1932 The Pittsburgh Coal Company purchased ... the tracts of land necessary for construction of a thirteen-mile branch from Negley, Ohio, to Smiths Ferry at the mouth of Little Beaver Creek on the Ohio River. All right of way was acquired by negotiated purchase, and as there were no at road level crossings in this isolated valley, no public consent was required. Headquarters were established in the second story of the Negley station and the railroad was given an intentional misleading name, the ‘Clay Product Railroad.’”
“By early 1933 construction was started in earnest in several locations. Rheinhart Construction Company worked from the tunnel to Smiths Ferry blasting, drilling, and removing large boulders. Work north of the future tunnel to Bieler’s Run and then to the coal plant was conducted by the Pittsburgh construction firm Hine-McKinley. Two small oil burning locomotives on narrow gauge track carried fill dirt and concrete 24 hours a day to a site near Bieler’s Run [for a viaduct]. Work progressed mostly at night, north and south from Fredericktown. From Bieler’s Run to the tunnel by August 10, 1933, ties had been distributed.”
“At 2:30 P.M. on August 4, 1933, the Booth and Flynn Construction Company of Pittsburgh broke through the north portal of Grimms Bridge tunnel. By the end of September, and in less than a half a year, the concrete lined tunnel, 22 feet wide and 28 feet high, was complete.”
Going “through the 1,042 foot tunnel the six degree curve was great enough that the engineer could not see daylight on his approach to the tunnel. Small manholes were constructed in the tunnel walls for the crew or an occasional track walker. Crabtree Siding nearly a quarter mile in length and the only siding on the private railroad was constructed on the north end of the tunnel.”
“On January 1, 1934, the private coal line went into service; however coal, in the amount of 201 tons, was not hauled until the following fall.” Because of various injunctions, full operation was delayed. “In the first full year of its operation, 1936, the line delivered 13,447 carloads numbering a remarkable 703,950 tons.”
In 1945 the line was merged with the Youngstown & Southern (Y&S) Railroad. “Until 1957 ‘Little Beaver Crews’ would make the ‘river run’ at least twice and sometimes as many as four trips daily, six days a week.” In 1957 the line was given the status “temporarily out of service”. In 1962 a tourist railroad was proposed along the line.
In 1963, “track operations restarted with a demand for power plant coal.” “Tassi Coal Company ... stripped coal, and the Y&S transported the coal …” “When the stripping was completed, Tassi had mined on top of the tunnel without the railroad’s knowledge and caused a landsline closing the south portal. Because the grade runs north to south, the tunnel filled with 4-5 feet of water.”
“Once again the line closed. The tracks were lifted in 1995. The diesel’s last trip to Grimms Bridge was in November 1965… Fifteen years before on December 14,1950, #23 and #17 made the last ‘river run’ with steam.”
Quotes from “Rails of Dreams,” by Wayne A. Cole, 2003.
Rail Status: Yes
Current status: Abandoned & Visitable
Original Use: Freight
Tunnel Length: 1,042.00
Suggested Parking Area: N 40° 40.981 W 080° 31.951
Date Built: 1933
Date Abandoned: 1963
The "Other End": Not Listed
Website: Not listed
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