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East End News

What’s under Church Hill?

Photographing RVA has a great 2-part look at the Church Hill Train Tunnel. Part 1 looks at the west entrance on the side of Jefferson Park. Part 2 tracks down the more elusive east entrance:

I would like to point out that the Eastern Entrance stands in stark contrast to the Western Entrance. The Western Entrance is well manicured, gated, and locked off while the Eastern Entrance is a swampy trash heap that nature is slowly trying to reclaim. Despite their apparent differences they share a common trait: they are both inaccessible. One of the greatest things about the city that we live in is its rich history, and the tragedy of the Church Hill Tunnel collapse is a part of that history. I do not necessarily advocate for the removal of the train (which was actually proposed and explored in conjunction with The History Channel), but the current states of the existing sites does not seem wholly appropriate either.

Here is the historical marker near the west entrance of the tunnel:

Here is an 1883 map that shows the route of the tunnel underneath Church Hill:

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6 comments

Scott Burger 07/28/2012 at 3:26 PM

At the risk of repeating myself, I would be interested in a new tunnel effort. Tunneling technology has greatly improved since the 1900’s.

http://tunnelbuilder.com/

A car/truck tunnel could be a partial solution/alternative to the Route 5 traffic dilemma. It might also exorcise a lot of Richmond ghosts and restore a more ‘can do’ civic attitude.

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Lucky Canine 07/29/2012 at 9:21 AM

The eastern entrance has always bothered me. I wish it could be reclaimed a bit. It would be nice to have some walking paths down there and clean up the garbage. My understanding is that the land surrounding the eastern entrance is privately owned.

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All Bark 07/29/2012 at 7:44 PM

What’s under church hill? I bet lots and lots of well loved, lost kitties, maybe even Boba and Tuna Fish!

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Eric Huffstutler 07/30/2012 at 8:12 AM

Why did they block off tourist access to the West side enterance? I know there are apartments there but they should have made access to it available being a historic landmark!

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mary wood 07/12/2018 at 6:26 PM

I played in the East End of the Church Hill tunnel, in about 1941-1947. I lived on Libby Terrace, where there were steps down the hill, and across the road and thru paths to R.R. tracks leading into the tunnel.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 07/12/2018 at 9:31 PM

Dangerous to do now. Someone years ago tried to get as far in as they could for a newspaper article and it was filled with sand, debris, and water and the tunnel got too narrow to safely go very far. I would be afraid of a roof collapse trying to do so today.

Reply

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