Talcott West Virginia: Summers County: Great Bend Tunnel

This tunnel was dug by the original C & O Railroad in order to avoid having to follow the Greenbrier River through 3 mile long series of bends. Coincidentally, this bore became tthe traditional setting for the John Henry Ballad though there is recent research to indicate that while the tune may have started here, the actual race was further east at the Charles Lewis tunnel. Even if you accept this as the actual place where the "steel drivin' race" took place, note the song says it was the "Big Bend Tunnel." However, you will note that it is clearly labled the "Great Bend Tunnel." The "Big Bend Tunnel" is the newer bore just to the south drilled through by the C&O during the early 1930's. As you travel on the eastbound Cardinal look out and back down the track where you have come from on the "north" side of the train just after you clear the "Big Bend" tunnel about 15 miles east of Hinton WV. This is the portal you will see.

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Taken in June 2003