Most people don’t realize they are driving over a 150-year-old train tunnel when they travel on Route 54 in Barnesville or both lanes of Interstate 81 in Mahanoy Township. The 3,500-foot Mahanoy Tunnel, which runs under Buck Mountain, is still in use by the Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad Company. It’s north entrance is located at the Mahanoy Township village of Buck Mountain; with it’s south entrance located at the base of the Vulcan Hill (SR54) in Ryan Township.
The tunnel’s construction began in 1859 and completed in 1862. The tunnel was primarily used to transport anthracite coal.
Built outside the Ryan Township side of the tunnel are two structures that housed two large ventilation fans. These fans were used to blow fresh air into the tunnel when smoke-producing steam locomotives would go through.
The last known notable upgrade to the tunnel was the construction of a concrete mouth on the Vulcan side. It was completed in 1943.
(Here is the link to photos I took in February 2013)
(Here is Google Maps Imagery of the Vulcan Hill side from the Ground)
(Here is Google Maps Imagery of the Vulcan Hill side from the Sky)
(Related story about tunnel: http://republicanherald.com/news/mahanoy-tunnel-still-in-use-after-more-than-a-century-1.1273421)
(All TamaquaArea.com Photos)
Here is a video tour of the Mahanoy Tunnel by VintagePAMining on YouTube: