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Southern portal at Boundary St, Oakland

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OFFICIAL NAME:
Schenley Tunnel

OTHER DESIGNATION:
South Tunnel
Neville Street Tunnel
Pittsburgh Junction RR Tunnel

LOCATION:
Pittsburgh

USGS 7.5" Topo Quad - UTM Coordinates:
Pittsburgh East - Zone 17; 0589 4478
(north portal 0589 4478; south portal 0589 4477)
CARRIES:
CSX [Pittsburgh Junction RR]



BETWEEN:
-- Centre Av
-- Filmore St

UNDER:
parallels west side of Neville St;
(north to south) Centre Av, Bayard St, Fifth Av, Henry St, Winthrop St, Filmore St
TYPE OF CONSTRUCTION / DESIGN:
semi-circular horseshoe profile
portions constructed using cut and cover method, others possibly bored through rock
cut stone portals, brick arch ring interior

TOTAL LENGTH:
2,872.4 ft

OTHER DIMENSIONS:
East end 142' on 3 degree 15' curve to left,
348' on 3 degree 00' curve to left,
2382.4' on tangent at west end

21 ft est wide at base
26 ft wide at spring line of arch
20 ft est high from top of rail to top of arch rise
70 ft below the grade of Neville St

YEAR OPENED / ENGINEER:
1883; H. A. Schwanecke, chief engineer; T. Cooper, consulting engineer; O. H. Schwanecke, assistant engineer
ADDITIONAL INFO:
Two ordinances were passed by Pittsburgh city council to allow the Pittsburgh Junction Railroad to construct this line. The first ordinance passed 21-Nov-1881 (approved 30-Nov-1881) described the line as follows: "Beginning at the Monongahela river, at or near the mouth of Four-Mile run, thence crossing the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and following the valley of said Four-Mile run to Forbes avenue, at or near the intersection of Neville street, thence to Filmore street at the south end of South tunnel, thence by such tunnel following the general course of Neville street, at about seventy feet below the grade thereof, to the north line of Center avenue, the northerly terminus of South tunnel, thence following the valley of the Two-Mile run to a point near Liberty avenue at the south end of North tunnel; thence by tunnel to northerly line of Butler street, the north end of North tunnel, near Thirty-fifth street; thence by Thirty-fifth or Thirty-sixth street to the Allegheny river." The right-of-way also included branches westward to Eleventh street and eastward to Negley's Run.

Note that the first approved right-of-way included two tunnels. The South tunnel was constructed below Neville St; the North tunnel would have passed under Liberty Av near the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, connecting the valley at Sassafras St with 35th St at Butler St. The ordinance passed 21-Nov-1881 (approved 30-Jul-1883) eliminated the North tunnel:

"Beginning at the Monongahela river, at or near the mouth of Four-Mile run, thence crossing the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and following the valley of said Four-Mile run to Forbes avenue, at or near the intersection of Neville street, thence to Filmore street at the south end of South tunnel, thence by such tunnel following the general course of Neville street, at about seventy feet below the grade thereof, to the north line of Center avenue, the northerly terminus of South tunnel, thence along Neville street to a point between Oxford and Forfar streets, thence deviating from Neville street, crossing Sassafras and Forfar streets to a point at the intersection of Ewing and Thirty-third streets, thence crossing Liberty avenue and following Thirty-third street, and crossing Penn avenue, Mulberry (formerly Lafayette), and Smallman streets, and any intervening street or alley above grade to the Allegheny river."

This latter ordinance required the construction of iron trestles to carry the railroad above Thirty-Third St and eliminate all grade crossings between the Two Mile Run valley and the Allegheny River. The railroad crosses the river via a bridge over Herr's Island; the line connects with the former Pittsburg & Western Railroad which heads north from Etna.

At the southern portal, three stones give information about the construction of the tunnel. The keystone notes "P.J.R.R., Thomas M. King, President." At the left spring line, "Shaw, Stearns & Norris, Contractors;" At the right spring line, "H. A. Schwanecke, chief engr; T. Cooper, cons engr; O. H. Schwanecke, asst engr"

Thomas M. King figured prominently in the three railroads which ultimately were incorporated as one. He is noted on the Neville Street Tunnel keystone as president of the Pittsburgh Junction Railroad. He was vice president of the Pittsburg & Western and superintendent of the Pittsburgh Division of the Baltimore & Ohio (formerly the Pittsburgh & Connellsville Railroad). The B&O had operated the P&W and the acquisition was completed by the July 1893 election of Mr. King as president of the B&O. The combination of rail lines became the Baltimore & Ohio northern mainline to Chicago.

The ordinances state the depth of the crown of the tunnel to be seventy feet below the grade of Neville St. It appears the tunnel runs along the western edge of Neville St and there are few buildings above it -- particularly along the gradual slope near the southern section of the tunnel. The surface seems to indicate that the tunnel was constructed using the cut and cover method, whereby a trench is excavated, the tunnel is constructed, and the structure is covered over.

FIELD CHECKED:


INFO SOURCES:
field check; " A digest of the acts of assembly relating to and the general ordinances of the city of Pittsburgh from 1804 to Jan. 1st, 1897 ; with references to decisions thereon, prepared under resolution of councils by W.W. Thomson."; "History of Butler County Pennsylvania," R. C. Brown Co., Publishers, 1895; "Tunnel Records",January 1, 1954, Baltimore & Ohio Railroad "Form 6"; Ron Stafford


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Last modified: 21-Apr-2003

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