The Lackawanna Cutoff - Then & Now

Roseville Tunnel


American Freedom Train at Roseville Tunnel in 1976

Reading Company T1-class 4-8-4 #2101 blasts out of the Roseville Tunnel in 1976 under the guise of the American Freedom Train.

Photo by Tom Kelcec from the October 1977 issue of Railfan & Railroad Magazine, page 32.

Roseville Tunnel 1999

The Roseville Tunnel as it appeared in the summer of 1999. Thanks to Conrail, we now have a great view (between the trees) of the empty right-of-way through the tunnel and for miles on the other side.

Roseville Tunnel West Portal 2006

We return to the tunnel in April 2006. The lack of leaves provides some clear views. Shown here is the west portal. The ties from the eastbound main continue all the way through the tunnel.

On top of Roseville Tunnel looking West 2006

Looking west from above the portal, we see evidence of what was to be the largest cut on the Cutoff before it was decided to bore through the eastern end. It is amazing that the Cutoff is straight as far as the eye can see considering the mountainous terrain.

Roseville Tunnel East Portal 2006

The Cutoff emerges from the east portal and goes right on to a fill. The tunnel, fill, and deep cut on the other side provide three examples of Lackawanna engineering in a short 1/2 mile span.

Roseville Tunnel East Portal 2006

A closer look at the east portal. One of the rocks above the portal is still secured with steel bolts that were installed through it.

On top of Roseville Tunnel looking East 2006

Again the Cutoff is straight as an arrow looking east from above the portal. The contractor started on the east side and was only 50 feet into the cut when the workers encountered very brittle and unstable rock. The Lackawanna decided to bore through and create the tunnel since the soft rock could not be relied upon to form the walls of a cut. As a result, the tunnel was surprisingly not finished until after both viaducts on the west end were already complete. The railroad continues through the gap in the distance and then turns south toward Port Morris.

On top of Roseville Tunnel looking East

Usually we put the old photo before the new one, but it took two weeks after our visit to discover this old construction photo and realize we nearly duplicated it! The right of way left behind by the construction railway exiting in the left foreground still exists and now provides access to the east portal at track level. It is a fairly large fill that goes around the mountain to the top of the west portal. The lake shown here is indeed hidden behind the trees in our photo and the background terrains match.

Photo from The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad in the Twentieth Century by Thomas Taber and Thomas Taber III, published by Steamtown Volunteer Association, 1998.

Roseville Tunnel East Portal 2006

Despite the soft rock, only a very short section near the west portal actually required a concrete lining. Just about the entire 1,000 foot long tunnel looks like this. While the rock ceiling is completely intact almost 100 years after the bore was made, the west side of the short concrete liner has started to decay due to water seepage.

Roseville Tunnel East Portal 2006

Looking west at the terrain on top of the tunnel, we see the telegraph poles begin their descent back to track level. The rock hill to the left and the presence of two different depth trenches in addition to a similar hill not shown to the right indicate that a considerable amount of fill was removed from the top of the tunnel site before it was determined a tunnel would be needed.

This page was written by Anthony R. Tofani with Robert J. Savino
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Last Updated October 4, 2016
 
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