Blue Ridge Tunnel

(Crozet Tunnel)

560 US250, Waynesboro, VA

Status: Former Railway Tunnel; Multiple Fatality Site; Rail Trail

Only Accessible by Foot or Bicycle



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In the 19th century travel between the populated east coast of the United States and the mid-west was very difficult. There were no cars or trucks and movement by horse and mule was very limited in the amount that could be carried.

It was the golden age of the railroads. However, building railways up and down the peaks and valleys of the Appalachian Mountains (including the Blue Ridge Mountains) was not practical; to say the least.

The solution; go straight through the mountains in tunnels.

In 1849 the Commonwealth of Virginia hired Claudius Crozet to build a tunnel through the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Began in 1850 the rail through the mountains consisted of 4 tunnels including the 4,237 foot (1,291 metre) Blue Ridge Tunnel. It would be 1858 before the first train would use the rail line – despite the original time frame of 3 years to create it – and construction would continue until 1860 before full completion.

The tunnel was created using only hand drills – meaning someone had to hold the large drill bit while another man hit it with a sledgehammer – and than the holes were filled with black powder. Black power was a primitive, but also very unstable, explosive that predated dynamite.

Almost 200 people died while constructing the tunnel. This number includes those who passed during a cholera epidemic that went through the area while the tunnel was being dug.

The tunnel was dug from both sides together and was less than 6 inches (15 cm) off when they met in the middle.

The tunnel was the longest in the US when built and one of the longest in the world. It is still considered one of the most impressive engineering projects in history.

The tunnel was replaced with another more modern one in 1944. This replacement tunnel is still in use and an active railway tunnel. Do not approach much less enter the new tunnel.

The Crozet Tunnel was reopened in September of 2020 as part of the rail trails in the area.


Paranormal Activity

The tunnel is said to be haunted both by the workers who died in it’s construction as well as by a young woman who fell from a train.

In 1910 a family that had recently immigrated to America from Italy were taking the train to their new home. The Blue Ridge Tunnel was not adequately ventilated, and passengers were told to keep their windows shut to avoid the smoke from the engine from entering the train cars.

It is thought that the language barrier led to the passengers in the family’s car not closing their windows. The smoke led to them believing the train was on fire, so they opened all the windows fully leading to more toxic smoke entering the train car.

They then attempted to escape by opening the train doors. Somehow Virginia Roncoli (18 years old) was the only one to actually get a door open. Tragically, she then fell between the moving train cars and was run over by the following car.

The family had to disembark at the next station and go back to the tunnel to retrieve the torn remains of their daughter from the tracks.

The ghost of Virginia has been seen in the tunnel ever since. She is described as having dark hair and an olive complexion as well as being rather beautiful; of course, that may be wishful thinking to romanticize the legend. Viriginia looks lost as she wonders the tunnel seemingly unaware of the living.

Other reported activity: shadow figures moving through the darkness; disembodied voices; light anomalies; glowing eyes of varying colors floating through the tunnel unattached to a body; cold spots; unexplained sounds including explosions and tools hitting stone; touches, tugs and pulls by unseen entities and feelings of being watched and not being alone.